As weak market sentiment continues to impact industry, India Auto Inc is doing all it can to overcome the slowdown, which has hit it hard over the past six months. As it looks right now, the passenger vehicle segment is set to close FY2019 in low single digits.
While a sharp rise in insurance prices with higher interest rates on loans impacted customer purchase decisions for the most part of 2018 calendar year, the upcoming general elections slated for May are keeping consumers from making any discretionary purchases at the moment.
While the industry still struggles to moderate inventories, sales in February 2019 remained subdued with PVs declining 1.11 percent to 272,284 units (February 2018: 275,357). Apex industry body SIAM expects the scenario to improve only after the elections.
Here’s looking at the top 10 best-selling PVs in February 2019:
Maruti Alto, the quintessential go-to car in the entry-level hatchback segement emerged as the top performer once again in February, selling 24,751 units. The car had sold 19,760 units in the same month last year, thus marking sizeable gains in recent times.
At No. 2, the Maruti Swift gained one position over last year and sold 18,224 units (February 2018: 17,291). The Swift in its latest avatar is wooing buyers with its enhanced practicality in an appealing package, also offering the convenience of automated manual gearboxes in both its petrol and diesel variants.
The Swift's premium hatchback sibling the Maruti Baleno, which is being retailed through the company's Nexa network, also bettered one spot to secure the No. 3 position in the tally. The car went home to 17,944 buyers (February 2018: 15,807) and after being spruced up in aesthetics and feature enhancements in a recent facelift brought about in January, the Baleno is making it difficult for anyone to look away when it comes to getting style, comfort and safety features aplenty at an irresistible price point.
Maruti's winning spree continues at the No. 4 spot as well with the Dzire. However, the popular compact sedan slumps three positions from last year. Where it had clocked 20,941 units in February 2018 to be the top performer, the Dzire garnered volumes of 15,915 units last month, still averaging better than most of its competitors in the market.
The No. 5 position remains secure with the popular Maruti Wagon R. The car sold 15,661 units in the month (February 2018: 14,029). In its latest third-generation model, the tallboy hatchback has grown in dimensions by being built on a completely new platform and thus offers exceptional space on the inside. The car has also evolved in terms of safety with dual airbags, ABS with EBD and parking sensors becoming standard across the range.
With a product in almost every popular segment, Maruti has its hands full when it comes to the UV space as well. India's best-selling UV Maruti Vitara Brezza jumps one spot to No. 6 selling 11,613 units. While sales remained almost flat (February 2018: 11,620), it gains one position in the tabulation.
At No. 7, Hyundai's Elite i20 drops one spot clocking overall despatches of 11,547 units (February 2018: 13,378). The car is direct competition to the Baleno and Maruti's relatively better grade line-up could be the reason of this sales slowdown.
The Hyundai Creta continues to be the king of its segment and rose one position to total incremental sales of 10,206 units (February 2018: 9,278). A favourite among SUV lovers, the Creta becomes even more popular with Hyundai giving it a new top-of-the-line variant with segment-first updates such as ventilated seats. In less than four years since launch in 2015, February also became a milestone month for the handsome crossover to have surpassed the 500,000 units mark across domestic sales and exports from India.
The Korean carmaker’s B-segment hatchback the Hyundai Grand i10 drops one position at No. 9 and sold 9,065 units in the month (February 2018: 10,198). The car is expected to receive a generational change this year sometime around July.
The Tata Tiago makes a comeback in the Top 10 chart after a 12-month hiatus and closes the Top 10 list with statistics hinting at overall sales of 8,286 units in the month. The car has been responsible for Tata's recovery in the PV space, where it now has the feat of achieving 200,000 units, which came up in February as well.
With just two weeks to go for the close of the fiscal year, both OEMs and dealers would want to clear the maximum backlog of inventories within FY2019, and start the next assessment year on a new (and brighter) note.
A number of corrective measures, say industry experts, are being taken already on the fronts of liquidity and carrying costs, which would bear fruit in the coming months. Even though gearing up for BS VI and enhancing vehicular safety are greater challenges up ahead, hope prevails that the industry will rise through these tough times and drive in the fast lane once again.
Also read: India's Best-Selling Utility Vehicles – February 2019
India's Best-Selling Two-Wheelers – February 2019
India's Best-Selling Scooters – February 2019