Hyundai Creta sells over 900,000 units in India, exports cross 280,000
India’s best-selling midsize SUV records new India market milestone eight years after launch in July 2015; together with export shipments, total sales of the Creta have crossed 1.18 million units.
Hyundai Motor India’s best-selling SUV has driven past the 900,000-unit sales milestone in the domestic market. As of end-June 2023, the Hyundai Creta has clocked sales of 905,826 units in the domestic market.
The popular SUV, which is India’s best-selling midsize SUS, and the best-selling UV after the Tata Nexon, has taken exactly eight years or specifically 96 months since its launch on July 21, 2015 to achieve the latest milestone. The last 100,000-unit sales, from 800,000 to 900,000, have come in the November 2022-June 2023 period (106,092 units), similar to the run from 700,000 to 800,000 units which also took a few days over eight months.
At the current pace of sales, and 43,082 units in the first three months of FY2024, the Creta is headed towards hitting the 175,000-unit mark this fiscal, which will mean it will surpass its previous best fiscal figure of 150,372 units in FY2023 (see Creta sales data table below).
Hyundai’s diesel strategy pays off
Having held sway for nearly five years, the first-generation Creta handed over the baton to the new Creta on March 16, 2020. Launched just when the Covid-19 pandemic struck which resulted in a slow sales offtake, the second-gen Creta has over the past two years generated a strong growth trajectory. Over the past 40 months, between FY2021 through to end-June 2023, the Creta has sold 431,581 units, holding its own in a market which is now seeing a number of new midsize SUVs.
Hyundai’s strategy to remain bullish on diesel, compared to some of rivals in India, is paying off. The Creta’s pack of powertrains comprises 1.5-litre petrol, 1.5-litre diesel and a 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine options. In terms of market pull, the new BS VI-compliant diesel motor is keeping pace with the other two powerplants. It is understood that at present 45% of Creta sales in India continue to comprise diesel variants. This is reflected in the fact that the high-in-demand diesel automatic variants of the Creta have an up to 4-month waiting period.
The Creta also gets an automatic transmission option with all three engines, including the recently-introduced iMT or intelligent manual transmission – a clutch-less manual gearbox – solely with the 1.5-litre petrol engine. Moreover, the new Creta's modern features like a panoramic sunroof, a 10.25-inch touchscreen paired with a Bose audio system are a huge draw for buyers.
Interestingly, as per Autocar India, three out of every five Cretas sold in India have a sunroof, which is now a critical feature across the brand’s current model range. Also,
Car buyers in India are increasingly growing conscious about the level of safety in their vehicles. In April this year, the Creta received a three-star rating in the Global NCAP crash test.
Helping Hyundai protect its turf
Hyundai Motor India is the longstanding No. 2 passenger vehicle OEM and currently the fourth-ranked utility vehicle player. The past couple of years have seen a fast-growing Tata Motors hard on Hyundai’s heels but thanks to sustained demand for the Creta, the Korean carmaker has kept the new challenger at bay.
The two rivals closed FY2023 with a difference of 23,155 units in favour of Hyundai. In the first three months of FY2024, the difference is just 5,221 units. While Hyundai is confident of the new Exter mini-SUV, a Tata Punch rival, bringing in strong numbers, it can continue to bank on the Creta which continues to pack a midsize punch and more. In fact, at the end of June 2023 and for Q1 FY2024, at 43,082 units, the Creta is just 170 units behind India’s No. 1 UV, the Tata Nexon (43,252 units). Will it cruise ahead in the months to come? Let’s wait and see.
Big contributor to India’s SUV growth story
With 83,642 UVs sold in April-June 2023, Hyundai currently has a 15.30% share of India’s booming UV market. Of this, the Creta with 43,082 units has a 51.50% share, followed by the Venue compact SUV (32,161 units) which has a 38% share.
Between FY2016 till end-June 2023, Hyundai Motor India has sold a total of 14,24,783 UVs – of this the Creta, with 905,826 units, has contributed a handsome 63.57 percent. Not surprisingly, the Creta has been a key driver of India’s SUV growth story.
In FY2021, the UV segment crossed the million-units sales milestone for the first time – 10,60,750 – and the Creta contributed 120,035 units or 11.31% of total UV sales. In FY2022, when UV sales clocked 1.48 million sales, the Creta contributed 8% (118,092 units) to the segment. In FY2023, when India Auto Inc recorded its best-ever UV sales of 20,03,718 units and crossed the two-million milestone for the first time, the Creta with 150,372 units had a 7.50% share of that achievement as a single product. This performance saw it retain its title as India’s best-selling midsize SUV.
Over 280,000 made-in-India Cretas exported
Adding power to the Creta story is the SUV’s export performance. A total of 280,022 Cretas have been exported till end-June 2023 (see data table above). First-quarter FY2204 shipments of 1,035 units are down by 84% YoY (Q1 FY2023: 6,719 units) but that could be a result of Hyundai rolling out more Cretas for the domestic market, given the substantial demand the SUV commands in the domestic market. Clearly, the focus is more on catering to the domestic market demand compared to exports.
Earlier this month, speaking to Autocar Professional, Tarun Garg, Chief Operating Officer, Hyundai Motor India, said: “The domestic market is a clear priority for us. Now that we have extra capacity with the expansion to up to 850,000 units giving us more room, it is a balance between making sure that our domestic obligations are met. Having said that, the exports of Made-in-India products are equally important to get foreign exchange. At Hyundai, right from day one, we have struck a balance between domestic and export sales, and we will continue to maintain it going forward.
The Creta’s domestic and export sales numbers combined add up to 11,85,848 units, which means Hyundai Motor India will surpass the 1.2 million cumulative sales mark very soon.
Given that the second-gen Creta was launched in March 2020, a model update could be on the cards within a year. Hyundai Motor Co has launched the facelifted model overseas, which could mean an updated Creta for India could get ADAS features.
With Hyundai’s EV strategy for India also involves an all-electric Creta. It is learnt that development is underway on the zero-emission Creta, which is likely to be revealed at the Auto Expo 2025 and could see series production in the last quarter of 2024.
While the compact SUV market continues to be the biggest contributor to UV sales in India, there is a marked growth in the demand for midsize SUVs, particularly new models like the Maruti Grand Vitara, Fronx and Jimny, the Toyota Urban Cruiser Hyryder, the just-launched face-lifted Kia Seltos. Nevertheless, Hyundai Motor India is confident the Creta will continue to be the segment leader despite the new competition. Speaking to Autocar Professional recently, Tarun Garg, COO, Hyundai Motor India, said: "Competition does not necessarily split the share between rivals, it can also expand the pie. We have raised our benchmark from time to time and we will continue to boost the value packaging in the model (Creta) and are confident of retaining the leadership in the mid-size SUV segment.
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