The utility vehicle king has lost its crown to the challenger once again. The Hyundai Creta has topped the best-selling UVs chart in May 2019, regaining the crown after 10 months. And the Hyundai Venue, the new kid on the compact UV block, has debuted in the popular sellers chart.
In May 2019, Maruti Suzuki India saw both its PV and UV sales down 25 percent. The Maruti Vitara Brezza, the longstanding UV leader, has taken a hit and how, dropping from its No. 1 position to No 3 and also dropping from its usual mid-level spot in the Top 10 PVs to 10th place. Maruti’s decision to drop out of diesel in the future, it seems, is not playing well with the UV buyer in India.
Amid the ongoing slowdown as OEMs and dealers seek to reduce inventory levels, May 2019 saw UV despatches down 6 percent YoY to 77,453 units (May 2018: 82,086). The UV contribution to total PV sales also declined by 32 percent to 239,347 units (May 2018: 310,238).
Hyundai Creta on top again
The Hyundai Creta, which has always been a strong No. 2 to the Maruti Vitara Brezza, has also benefited from the reduced offtake of the Vitara Brezza and takes the No. 1 position with 9,054 units, albeit still seeing negative YoY growth of 18 percent (May 2018: 11,004). Whether it continues to stay on top remains to be seen but there will be new home-grown competition in the form of the just-revealed Kia Seltos midsize SUV, which is slated to be launched in early August with Kia Motors India commencing bookings in mid-July.
What should bring the smiles back to Maruti Suzuki is that latest and second-generation Maruti Ertiga is doing rather well in the market. The MPV went home to 8,864 buyers last month to make its entry into the best-sellers’ list. With a modern design, ample space, thoughtful features and a value-for-money package, the new Ertiga is ticking most of the right boxes for family and fleet buyers.
At No. 3, the Maruti Vitara Brezza drops two spots with retail volumes of 8,781 units (May 2018: 15,629), down a sharp 45 percent YoY.
The recently launched Hyundai Venue compact SUV takes No. 4 position right in the month of launch. With over 33,000 bookings in hand, Hyundai Motor India will be doing its level best to feed its dealers across the country. With 7,049 units getting despatched (35% diesel) in May 2019 and maintaining a similar level for the upcoming months, the Venue should be a regular in the Top 5 chart.
The Venue could pose a big threat to the Vitara Brezza because the former comes with option of petrol engines including a brand-new 1.0-litre turbo-petrol, mated to a 7-speed DCT. The Brezza, in contrast, has no petrol yet, and only offers a rudimentary AMT as an option on its diesel power plant.
Closing the Top 5 tally is the Mahindra Bolero which, being true to its tough credentials, has been trundling along rather well with a never-say-die attitude. Even with prevailing slower rural demand, the Bolero sold 5,947 units last month, albeit down 27 percent YoY.
Even as the automotive industry has succumbed to negative consumer sentiment and weaker market forces, OEMs continue to reveal their new products for the Indian market – the case in point being the Kia Seltos and the MG Hector, both SUVs.
The UV segment has, for long, been a key growth driver for car manufacturers around the world, given the surge of consumer demand. In India, the segment has hit a roadblock of sorts but with a clutch of new products slated for launch, the market should see some action sooner rather than later.
With the MG Hector slated for launch in June and subsequently to be followed by the Kia Seltos in August, the UV segment might just be revived by the excitement brought in by these two new entrants into the Indian market, rather than any other market forces getting corrected and resuming UV growth. Any which way, some action in the segment will serve to rev up consumer sentiment and in turn the industry momentum.
Also read: India's Top 10 Passenger Vehicles in May 2019