If there is some hope that the passenger vehicle segment in India, currently down 3.6% in the April-July 2020 period, will be out of the woods in the near future, then a lot will depend on the utility vehicle (UV) sub-segment.
There’s ample reason to be optimistic because not only is the UV segment firing on all cylinders – it is the only one to be in the black in July (71,384 units / 14% up YoY) – but with a gaggle of new models to be launched in September and later in the year, there should be more smiles per mile for SUV makers. Let’s take a closer look at the best-selling UVs in July 2020 which, at 42,864 units accounted for 60% of total UV sales in the month.
No. 1 Hyundai Creta: 11,549 units
Hyundai Motor India has got a good thing going with the new Creta. With a strong performance in the form of 11,549 units sold in July 2020, which is 75% year-on-year growth (July 2019: 6,585), this SUV accounted for 16% of total UVs sold in the domestic market last month (71,384). Importantly, sales are rising month on month.
The new Creta was India’s No. 1 UV in the Covid-impacted May with 3,212 units, and more than doubled that score with 7,207 units in June. April-July 2020 sales total 21,968 units, which constitute 64.21% of total Hyundai UV sales (34,212) and 25% of total UVs sold in India (139,409) in the four-month period.
Since the second-gen SUV’s launch in March this year, Hyundai, which received over 55,000 bookings, has delivered over 20,000 units till end-July. With an introductory price tag of Rs 999,000 (ex-showroom, all-India) and available in five engine-gearbox configurations and five trim levels, the new Creta seems to have ticked all the boxes with buyers.
The new Creta shares its engine and gearbox options with the Kia Seltos. The three BS VI-compliant engines on offer include a 115hp, 1.5-litre, naturally-aspirated petrol engine; a 115hp, 1.5-litre turbocharged diesel unit; and a 1.4-litre turbo-petrol. Despite the shared powertrains, the new Creta delivers slightly higher ARAI-certified mileage than its counterpart from Kia.
The new Creta, which competes with the Kia Seltos, MG Hector, Renault Duster and Nissan Kicks, clearly has the wind in its sails.
No. 2 Maruti Ertiga: 8,504 units
Maruti Suzuki India's MPV, which was a surprising and a speedy mover in FY2020 with total sales of 90,543 units (39% YoY growth) is maintaining good sales momentum. In July 2020, it sold a total of 8,504 units, good enough to take it to second place in the Top 5 UVs list and taking its April-July tally to 14,163 units, which is 43% of the carmaker’s total UV sales (32,577) in the first four months of FY2021.
The Ertiga, which was voted the 2019 Autocar Car of the Year, is an extremely, comfortable, versatile and user-friendly family car. With the company having driven out of diesel this April, the company will be keen to see the petrol-powered Ertiga make gains in the marketplace. It looks to be doing just that and more.
No. 3 Kia Seltos: 8,270 units
The star performer in the UV segment in FY2020 and Kia’s shining star, the Seltos, sold 8,270 units, hot on the heels of the No. 2 Ertiga. The Korean carmaker has sold a total of 16,995 units in the April-July 2020 period.
On June 1, Kia Motors India rolled out a 10-feature re-jig to the crossover’s variant line-up. Pricing of the refreshed Seltos starts at Rs 989,000 (ex-showroom, India). While it is premature in the auto industry for a carmaker to be bringing any updates to a model as fresh as nine months old, Kia’s step could be assumed to have come in response to the launch of the Creta from Hyundai – its sister company giving it the home-grown competition, which starts at Rs 999,000 ex-showroom, India.
No. 4 Maruti Vitara Brezza: 7,807 units
The Maruti Vitara Brezza, which was the harbinger of SUV change in the country which it was launched in March 2016, is now revving up in petrol format only, the company having driven out of diesel. Last month, a total of 7,807 Brezzas were bought in India, taking the company’s April-July 2020 Brezza total to 12,921 units.
The Vitara Brezza shares its 105hp and 138Nm, 1.5-litre K15B petrol engine with other Marutis like the Ciaz, Ertiga and XL6. A 5-speed manual gearbox is standard, while a 4-speed torque converter-equipped auto is available as an option. Interestingly, Suzuki’s SHVS Smart Hybrid tech is reserved for automatic versions of the compact SUV only. ARAI fuel-efficiency figures rate variants with the 5-speed manual at 17.03kpl while the automatic, with the mild-hybrid tech, has an ARAI-rated 18.76kpl.
No. 5 Hyundai Venue: 6,734 units
The Venue, Hyundai’s first compact SUV, is slowing down and has likely been impacted by the surging demand for its sibling, the new Creta. The Venue sold a total of 6,734 units in July, taking its April-July 2020 total to 12,105 units. It may be recollected that the Venue raced past the 100,000 sales milestone in a scant 12 months.
On July 22, the carmaker launched the Venue with an intelligent manual transmission. Will the new tech give a fillip to sales? Hyundai Motor India will most certainly be hoping so.
Given the rapid pace at which sales are picking up for UVs, this is one segment which is billed to be firing on all cylinders in the rest of the year and beyond. From the looks of it,, August should prove to be an august month for UV sales but a booster dose should come in September and October. That’s when the Kia Sonet compact SUV, Toyota Urban Cruiser and the new Mahindra Thar are to be launched. Clearly, exciting times are in store for the UV market. Stay tuned.
With total sales of 42,864 units in July, these five best-selling UVs accounted for 60% of total UV sales in India.