The popular entry-level Alto hatchback maintains its lead for the second month even as Maruti Suzuki continues to rule supreme with seven cars in the best-sellers’ chart.
As the Indian automotive industry tries to overcome the slowdown it has witnessed in the recent months, the onset of a new year has also not done much for the passenger vehicle segment, where sales in the month of January remained rather bleak too. Of the overall industry volumes of 2,019,331 units in January 2019, a 4.68 percent year-on-year decline, PV numbers stood in the red with 280,125 units going home to buyers (January 2018: 285,467 / -1.87%). Huge dealer discounts on unsold stock and restricted production at OEMs, which came out to be 2,405,592 units (January 2018: 2,475,472 / -2.82%) were the key ways of moderating inventories in the pipeline.
Within PVs, passenger cars remained on a declining trend with total sales touching 179,389 units (January 2018: 184,264 / -2.65%) and utility vehicles relatively slumping worse with 82,772 units (85,840 / -3.57%) moving out of company warehouses.
While the country’s bellwether Maruti Suzuki India saw flat growth with overall volumes of 139,440 units (January 2018: 139,189), seven of its models made it to the Top 10 bestsellers’ list in the month. This has been a regular trend though, not surprising since the company has an overwhelming 51.46 percent market share.
The country’s most liked small entry-level car, the Maruti Alto clinched back the No. 1 spot with a total of 23,360 units going home to buyers. The Alto had sold 19,134 units in January 2018 and fell short of elder sibling Dzire. In the April 2018 to January 2019 period, the Alto has sold a total of 217,824 units.
The fortunes for these two cars just got reversed in January 2019 with the Dzire coming to the No. 2 spot with sales of 19,073 units (January 2018: 22,540). A similar shuffle remains at the next two positions as well with the Maruti Swift taking the No. 3 spot with sales of 18,795 units and putting away the larger sibling Maruti Baleno to the No. 4 position, which went home to 16,717 buyers. Maruti also launched the refreshed Baleno in January and brought minor tasteful updates to the company’s highest selling offering from its premium Nexa chain.
At No. 5, the Maruti Vitara Brezza jumps two spots to land at the No. 5 position with the diesel-only compact UV selling 13,172 units in the month (January 2018: 11,785). The Vitara Brezza has also achieved the landmark milestone of crossing 400,000 units in less than three years since its launch in March 2016.
Hyundai’s Elite i20 also jumped two places to narrow in at the No. 6 position with sales of 11,749 units (January 2018: 9,650). Hyundai is known to be giving a variant rejig to the popular B+ hatchback in order to enhance its appeal further with customers. Its sibling Hyundai Creta is also known to have undergone a feature list update with addition of a new top-of-the-line variant with ventilated seats. The Creta secured the No. 7 spot with sales of 10,314 units (January 2018: 9,284).
The Korean carmaker’s B-segment hatchback the Hyundai Grand i10 dropped two positions at No. 8 and sold 10,285 units in the month (January 2018: 12,109). The car is expected to receive a generational change in the ongoing calendar sometime in July.
At No. 9, the Maruti Wagon R faced a significant drop in its sales which stood at 10,048 units (January 2018: 14,182). The company launched the latest third-generation of the Wagon R on January 23 and as a result, the low numbers could be attributed to the trailing volumes of the outgoing model and marginal volumes of the new-generation car.
Closing the tally at No. 10 is the Maruti Celerio, which made its way into the list replacing Tata’s Tiago. The Celerio sold 9,217 units in the month.
Year 2019 is going to be the one to be driving safety in the Indian automotive scenario with various safety features getting regulated to be present across all new as well as old models in the PV segment from October 2019. As a result, while most car manufacturers are seen to be gearing up to the big transformation already, the remaining ones are waiting for external factors to align to the change. Whatever way it comes, the consumer remains the major beneficiary in the four-wheeler space in the country, making it good times from a safety and technology perspective.
Also read: Top 5 Utility Vehicles in January 2019