The New Maruti Wagon R's stint as the new passenger vehicle boss, in July 2019, which was mainly due to the poor sales in the PV segment, has turned out to be rather short. That's because the Maruti Dzire sedan is back on top, followed by another sibling, the Maruti Swift. In a market that fell by as much as 31.57 percent year on year in August 2019 to a total of 196,524 units, the Top 10 PV list and its sales numbers are quite a revelation.
The Maruti Dzire with 13,274 units tops the chart but to put things into perspective, a year ago, the Dzire in August 2018 had sold all of 21,990 units, which means last month's numbers for the popular sedan are down -39.63 percent, year on year! That's the kind of damage the slowdown has inflicted on the PV industry. Though the Dzire has improved on its July 2019 numbers (12,923 units), it is down on the 14,868 units it sold in June 2019 and far less than the 16,196 units it registered in May 2019.
The compact sedan has been a strong seller for Maruti Suzuki over its three generations and the company is looking to rev up sales in a tepid market. For September 2019, Maruti is offering benefits worth up to Rs 90,000 on the compact sedan. These benefits are on the diesel model and buyers get a mix of cash benefits, exchange bonus and a complementary five-year extended warranty package (diesel only) or its cash equivalent in additional discounts. The petrol model is being offered with benefits of up to Rs 60,000 across all its variants. The Dzire is powered by Maruti’s tried-and- tested 1.2-litre petrol and 1.3-litre diesel engines, both available with either a 5-speed manual or a 5-speed AMT gearbox option. The petrol unit has been upgraded to meet BS VI norms, with the diesel set to meet its end closer to the April 2020 deadline.
At No. 2 is the Maruti Swift with August 2019 despatches of 12,444 units, down on the 12,677 units in July, and 16,330 units in June 2019. Maruti has recently introduced the BS VI Swift albeit only in petrol guise. Like with the Baleno, the Swift’s 1.2-litre, four-cylinder K12B engine has been upgraded to comply with the more stringent emission norms. The 1.2-litre petrol continues to produce the same 83hp and 113Nm of torque, but has a slightly lower fuel efficiency figure at 21.2kpl. The 1.3-litre DDiS190 diesel engine has not been updated to BS VI-spec, as it is set to be phased out.
Additionally, the Swift now also gets more safety features as standard. To comply with AIS-145 safety norms, all variants now get a co-driver seatbelt reminder, a speed alert system, and rear parking sensors as standard. Previously, only dual airbags, ABS with EBD and a driver-side seatbelt reminder were standard, and rear parking sensors were only available with the top-spec ZXi and ZDi models. Like with the Dzire, Maruti is currently selling the Swift with handsome discounts.
The new Wagon R drives in at third place, Built on a completely new platform, the latest tallboy iteration has grown in almost all proportions. The Wagon R has also received a BS VI upgrade in its 1.2-litre petrol engine option. In August, the hatchback saw total despatches of 11,402 units, fairly down from the 15,062 units in July 2019 but better than June's 10,228 units. Dealers are offering benefits of up to Rs 25,000 across all variants of the tall-boy hatchback. Unlike its predecessor, the new Wagon R is offered with a choice of petrol engine options – the familiar 1.0-litre K10 unit and the new for the model BS VI-compliant 1.2-litre K12 petrol unit used by the Swift and Dzire. Buyers can additionally opt for a factory-fit CNG model based on the 1.0-litre model.
The Maruti Baleno drives in at No. 4 position with 11,067 units, an improvement over the 10,482 units of July 2019. The Baleno was the first in the Maruti stable to receive a BS VI upgrade earlier in April whilst also getting a new 1.2-litre DualJet K12C petrol motor coupled with mild-hybrid technology.
In fifth place is the entry-level hatchback, the Maruti Alto with 10,123 units, down on July's 11,577 units, and considerably less than the 18,733 units in June and 18,070 units it garnered in May 2018. The Alto was recently updated with a host of safety features in the wake of the upcoming norms in October, and was also introduced with a BS VI complying engine, a full 11 months ahead of the April 2020 deadline. The car also received a cosmetic makeover and meets the upcoming crash- and pedestrian-safety regulations. Maruti’s long-standing best-seller is being offered with benefits of up to Rs 70,000 for both the 800cc Alto and the 1.0-litre Alto K10.
A Hyundai car takes the sixth spot. The Grand i10 with 9,403 units comprising 314 diesel variants and 9,089 petrol variants. But the Hyundai vehicle that's making the news is the Venue, the Korean carmaker's first compact SUV.
The Venue, which is the new No. 1 UV in India since the past two months, maintains its trajectory in the Top 10 PV chart for the third straight month. In August, it saw despatches of 9,342 units, comprising 3,781 diesel variants and 5,561 variants. Since its launch barely four months ago, the SUV has sold a total of 34,739 units, giving Hyundai a new charge in the UV market and helping the Venue to now debut in the PV toppers' chart.
What is helping the Venue is its aggressive pricing strategy starting from Rs 650,000 to Rs 10.84 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), four engine-gearbox combinations, which includes an 83hp, 1.2-litre petrol MT; a 120hp, 1.0-litre petrol MT/AT; and a 90hp, 1.4-litre diesel MT, and all of six trim levels – the E, S, SX, SX+, SX dual-tone and SX(O).
The Maruti Eeco van, which was at sixth spot in July ( 9,814 units), is at No. 8 position in August. It may be recollected that this people-carrier sprung a surprise in May 2019 when it took sixth place with 11,739 units, crossing the 10,000 unit mark for the second time since its launch in January 2010, the last instance being April 2019.
The Maruti Ertiga MPV is at ninth position with despatches of 8,391 units, down on the 9,218 units in July 2019. The Ertiga in its new avatar is going places. With its 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. Of the total 42,127 Ertigas delivered in the first five months of FY2020 and averaging 8,425 units a month, the MPV is setting a good pace and that too in depressed market conditions.
The Maruti Vitara Brezza wraps up the Top 10 PV list with 7,109 units, far better than the 5,302 units it registered in July 2019. With increasing competition from newer rivals like the Hyundai Venue and Mahindra XUV300, both of which are also available with petrol engines, and no petrol engine option yet in a market making a strong shift from diesel to petrol, Brezza sales have been impacted.
However, Maruti Suzuki is currently in the final stages of readying a petrol-powered Vitara Brezza for the Indian market. The current-gen Vitara Brezza SUV has been on sale since 2016, with just a single diesel engine option mated to either a 5-speed manual or an AMT gearbox. Autocar India has reported a few months ago about Maruti developing a new petrol-powered Vitara Brezza, and also confirmed that the model will see its market launch in February, mostly likely at the upcoming Auto Expo 2020.
India's PV industry is experiencing possibly one of the worst downturns in his history. While the UV segment seems to be driving out of the slowdown, the continued fall in passenger cars is rather worrying.