Utility vehicles, including crossovers and compact SUVs, of late, have come to grab the attention of car buyers across the globe, and India, in line with the trend, could easily be termed as an SUV-crazy nation, where the segment has eaten into passenger car sales and now boasts of over 27 percent market share of the total PVs sold (April-November 2017: 21,86,199) in the country in FY2018 until now.
Between April-November 2017, UV sales cumulatively stood at 597,157 units (April-November 2016: 497,851), registering a substantial 20 percent growth. UVs accounted for a total hold of 24.69 percent of the total PV sales (20,15,699) between April-November 2016 and have jumped to settle at 27.31 percent in the first eight months of FY2018.
Maruti Suzuki, with its pack of UV offerings – the Vitara Brezza, S-Cross, Gypsy and the Ertiga – directly reiterates the growing trend of the UV segment and the company, today, holds 28.59 percent market share in the space, selling 170,702 units (April-November 2016: 127,182) of these models. The most popular offering from the Maruti stable continues to be the Vitara Brezza and the compact SUV sold 14,458 units in November, registering solid growth of 48.76 percent (November 2016: 9,719). The compact SUV has had a significant role to play in driving the company’s UV market share, where out of a total of 23,072 UVs sold in November, it contributed over 62 percent to the company’s sales numbers.
Japanese carmaker, Honda Cars India is also rejoicing as a result of posting handsome growth in the UV space, on account of the success of its Jazz-based WR-V crossover, introduced in March 2017. Honda sold a total of 40,238 UVs between April-November 2017 (April-November 2016: 17,571), growing 129 percent and increasing its UV market share to 6.74 percent, which earlier stood at a mere 3.53 percent during the same period last year. The WR-V, with its most unique feature – the sunroof – has been able to pull young customers towards it, which is exactly the target audience for carmakers in the crossover segment. The WR-V has cumulatively sold 25,251 units in the market until November.
Tata Motors, which has predominantly been a mainstream UV player, with the quintessential Safari being its most sought-after offering, immensely benefited from the temporary cut in taxes on full-size UVs, under the newly introduced GST regime, which was implemented in the country starting July 2017. While the Safari is a bit dated for the present day, Tata played its trump card in the UV space and introduced the new Hexa crossover in January, and in September 2017, finally introduced the much-awaited Nexon crossover, which was first showcased at the Auto Expo in 2016. The Nexon and the Hexa, together have contributed to rising sales, which stood at 25,338 units between April-November (April-November 2016: 10,444), and registered remarkable growth of 142.6 percent. The company’s hold on the UV pie has also doubled from 2.1 percent to now reach 4.24 percent between April-November 2017.
Hyundai Motor India again has seen its Creta crossover to be a consistent performer for the company and a regular in the Top 5 UVs on sale in the domestic market. The Creta sold 8,528 units in November, growing 25 percent (November 2016: 6,822). Hyundai’s cumulative UV sales stood at 72,877 units between April-November 2017 (April-November 2016: 64,064) and the company’s market hold also remains almost consistent at 12.2 percent (April-November 2016: 12.87%).
Mahindra & Mahindra, the homegrown UV specialist, has witnessed cumulative UV sales of 151,596 units in the first eight months of this fiscal (April-November 2016: 144,009), registering growth of 5.26 percent. However, the company’s UV market hold has declined from 28.93 percent between April-November 2016 to stand at 25.39 percent during the same period in 2017. While all its products are on a growth trajectory on a year-on-year basis, Mahindra’s arsenal majorly caters to the mid-size and full-size SUV space, where the Bolero (November 2017: 4,911), Scorpio (3,660) and the XUV500 (1,229) are dominant players in their respective segments. But, with customers increasingly moving towards compact SUVs and urban crossovers, Mahindra’s TUV300 (2,135) is far behind the major competitor – the Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza (14,458) in terms of monthly sales. The company is also expected to introduce a bigger version of the SUV, christened the TUV300 Plus, which will also come with a bigger 2.2-litre four-cylinder diesel motor.
Toyota Kirloskar Motor registered cumulative sales of 64,943 units between April-November (April-November 2016: 59,867), growing 8.47 percent, albeit the company’s UV market share has slightly declined from 12 percent to 10.88 percent over the first eight months of FY2018. The main reason for this de-growth in the company’s market share is the static month of June 2017, which was followed by the new GST regime from July onwards and had seen the sales of big cars and SUVs pause and drop to a bare minimum, owing to lucrative tax benefits to be followed with the new taxation structure. The highly popular Fortuner SUV, which otherwise averages 2,000 units (November 2017: 2,271) a month had come down to a negligible 356 units in June, and Toyota’s Innova, which flies at 6,000 units monthly, saw sales falling to 1,068 units in June 2017.
Ford India has seen UV sales numbers between April-November 2017 decline to 35,188 units (April-November 2016: 38,362), posting a de-growth of 8.27 percent. The company, which kick-started the compact SUV wave in the country with the launch of its EcoSport crossover in 2013 was feeling the pressure of low sales owing to the model’s age. Its UV market share also dropped from 7.71 percent to 5.89, percent between April-November 2017. However, Ford launched the refreshed version of the EcoSport in November 2017 and seems to have sprung back into action with the crossover already bagging sales of 5,474 units in its maiden month of launch. Given the new EcoSport’s packaging, Ford India could soon be making a comeback and giving tough competition to the dominating Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza and the Tata Nexon.
The UV segment is the top priority right now in the new model plans of most manufacturers, who want to relish the huge potential this space offers. The Toyota Rush and Nissan Kicks are some of the new offerings, which are almost certain to be making their way into our market. Expect more hot action from the automotive extravaganza, which is slated for February 2018.