FY2019 closed with the passenger car sub-segment of the overall passenger vehicle segment in India recording slow growth of 2 percent – 2,218,549 units (FY2018: 2,174,024) which comprised nearly 66 percent of the total PV sales in the fiscal. Read our Top 10 PVs report here.
While there was an uptick, the less-than-expected growth rate came on the back of high fuel prices, that impacted buyers in the PV space. There was also a negative aura around cars and UVs caused by poor liquidity in the market and high upfront cost of insurance premiums due to a mandatory three-year, long-term bundling regulation coming into enforcement since September 2018. Even still, some cars remained in the best-sellers’ list and garnered volumes which are quite notable in the overall scheme of things. We take a look at what’s what.
Market leader Maruti Suzuki saw six of its passenger car models dominate wherein the new third-generation Swift hatchback garnered the best growth. While the Maruti Alto maintained its position as the top-selling car in India in FY2019, going home to 259,401 buyers (FY2018: 258,539 / +0.33%), the Dzire followed close behind at 253,859 units (FY2018: 240,124 / +5.71%). The Maruti Swift at No. 3 recorded the maximum growth for the company by selling 223,924 units (FY2018: 175,928 / +27.28%). Meanwhile the Baleno premium hatchback registered overall sales numbers of 212,220 units (FY2018: 190,480 / 11.47%) while also receiving a facelift earlier this year in January.
At No. 5 and No. 6, Hyundai with its Elite i20 and Grand i10 hatchbacks accumulated sales of 266,266 units, forming 49 percent of the company’s total PV sales of 545,243 units in the fiscal. While the premium B2 segment Elite i20 went home to 140,225 buyers (FY2018: 136,181 / +2.96%), the smaller Grand i10 scored overall sales of 126,041 units, a significant 16 percent drop in its performance over the 151,113 units sold in FY2018. Hyundai is expected to introduce the next-generation version of the car sometime in Q2 of the current fiscal.
Maruti’s Wagon R, which saw a completely new generation model getting launched in January this year, witnessed overall sales getting pegged at 119,649 units through the entire fiscal (FY2018: 168,644 / -29.05%). At No. 8, its cousin Maruti Celerio registered a notable 10 percent uptick in performance with buyers also preferring CNG variants in metro cities such as Delhi-NCR and Mumbai.
Tata Motors, which has been swaying the market with a series of UV launches, saw its Tata Tiago hatchback jumping one spot to close the fiscal at the No. 9 position, registering total sales of 92,369 units (FY2018: 78,829). The car also surpassed the 200,000 units milestone in February 2019, less than three years since its launch in April 2016 in the country.
Closing the tally is the second-generation Honda Amaze, the all- updated compact sedan launched by the Japanese carmaker in May 2018. The car has cumulatively clocked 85,040 unit sales in the fiscal, while also becoming the fastest selling model for the company, with its swift performance of surpassing 50,000 units in October, barely five months into launch. The car accounted for over 46 percent of the total PV sales by the company in FY2019. The Amaze has been getting good traction from customers with buyers liking its design, packaging and powertrain options. Moreover, being the very entry-level model in the company’s India line-up, Honda says that over 30 percent of the volumes have come in from first-time buyers, thus, hinting at the high appeal of this sedan.
While FY2019 still performed moderately compared to what the industry has witnessed in the past, FY2020 is expected to see some sales boost, especially in Q4, when people could be tempted towards pre-buying their new set of wheels ahead of BS VI emission norm implementation in April 2020. The BS VI emission control technology will see a substantial increment in vehicle prices to the tune of 20 percent, especially the diesel-powered ones. Hope is that the market will recover after the general elections in May and the industry will again look to make the best of what the Indian market has to offer as its huge potential. We will keep a tab on all the developments.