Even as the passenger vehicle (PV) industry in India contends with what is one of the worst slowdowns the industry has seen, one trend that is seen is the growing demand for SUVs. The monthly Top 10 PV list usually has two SUVs – the Maruti Vitara Brezza and the Hyundai Creta. But in June they have been joined by a third – the recently launched Hyundai Venue.
Of the total 225,732 PVs sold in June, UVs accounted for 72,917 units or 32.30 percent. Compare that to the year-ago period of June 2018 (73,643 UVs and 273,748 PVs) where the UV contribution was nearly 27 percent.
The PV segment has been seeing de-growth for nearly 12 months ago and from the looks of it the trend will continue at least till the festive season if not more.
Market leaders Maruti Suzuki India and Hyundai Motor India, as usual, have their grip on the Top 10 best-sellers list. But both are under pressure as the PV market continues to take a hit. With overall PV sales dropping 24 percent in June, Maruti Suzuki's sales fell 17 percent to 111,014 units and Hyundai's by 7.41 percent to 42,007 units.
Sales of some of the best-selling models in the PV segment have dropped and most OEMs are offering a slew of discounts even on their fast-moving products. Let’s take a closer look at the Top 10s in June.
Top 5 remain Marutis
Two Maruti hatchbacks constantly battle for the No. 1 spot: the Alto and the Swift. In May 2019, it was the Swift. In June it is the Alto with 18,733 units. This is better than the 18,070 units it garnered in May 2018 but it's also because the Swift is experiencing slowing demand.
The Alto, India’s best-selling entry-level small car, 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.
Now at No. 2, the Maruti Swift's June despatches at 16,330 units are down 10 percent from the 18,171 units in June 2018. Maruti has recently introduced the BS VI Swift – but 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.
With this update, the Maruti Swift’s price has gone up, too. The range now starts at Rs 514,000 lakh for the base LXi variant – an increase of Rs 15,000 over the BS IV-spec LXi – and tops out at Rs 889,000 for the ZDi AGS variant, which is roughly Rs 4,000 more than before.
The Maruti Dzire is at No. 3 position with its 14,868 units, even less than the 16,196 units it registered in May 2019. In fact, a year ago, the Dzire was the No. 1 PV with 24,465 units, which indicates the slide in consumer sentiment. While the Dzire has been a trendsetter in the compact sedan space, Honda’s latest second-generation Amaze is wooing buyers its side. With dealer stocks aplenty, the Dzire is running discounts as high as Rs 47,500 in some cities.
Premium sibling Maruti Baleno maintains its No. 4 position with overall sales of 13,689 units in the month, a substantial 23 percent YoY decline (June 2018: 17,850). 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.
The new Maruti Wagon R has the same fifth position its older generation model had in June last year. With despatches of 10,228 units in June 2019, it is yet to achieve its real potential in the market. This latest tallboy iteration has grown in almost all proportions as it is now built on a completely new platform. The Wagon R has also received a BS VI upgrade in its 1.2-litre petrol engine option.
The Hyundai Elite i20 which was No. 8 in May 2019 is now at No 6 in June with 9,271 units, albeit its sales are down 17.62 percent (June 2018: 11,262). The i20 was already feeling the heat from the Maruti Baleno, it will now face new competition in a Toyota avatar, as the new Toyota Glanza.
At seventh position is the Maruti Eeco van with 9,265 units. It may be recollected that this expansive vehicle sprung a surprise in May 2019 when it took sixth place with 11,739 units, crossing the 10,000 unit mark since it was launched in January 2010, the last instance being April 2019.
SUVs make their presence felt
The next three positions are held by SUVs. UV market leader Maruti Vitara Brezza with 8,871 units is at No. 8 position. However, with increasing competition and no petrol engine option yet in a market seeing a strong shift from diesel to petrol, the Brezza's dipping month-on-month numbers mean it may be in and out of the PV Top 10 list in the near future.
The recently launched Hyundai Venue, the Korean carmaker's first compact SUV which debuted in the Top 5 UV charts in the very month of its launch, takes ninth place with 8,763 units. 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).
Closing the Top 10 for the month is the midsized Hyundai Creta with despatches of 8,334 units in June, its lowest yet in CY2019 (January: 10,314; February: 10,206; March: 11,448; April: 10,487 and May: 9,054). The Creta has been the longstanding understudy to UV leader Maruti Vitara Brezza but the entry of new SUVs like the Venue and the Kia Seltos soon, along the MG Hector, could impact the Creta's standing in the market.
Read more: Top 10 Utility Vehicles in June 2019
Top 10 Two-Wheelers in June 2019
Top 10 Scooters in June 2019
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