Maruti Brezza breezes past 900,000 sales in 87 months, last 100,000 sold in just 8 months

Popular compact SUV becomes the latest Maruti Suzuki model to drive past the 900,000 sales milestone in India; last 100,000 units sold in only 8 months with new CNG variant adding tailwind to demand.

By Ajit Dalvi calendar 02 Jun 2023 Views icon20024 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp

Eight months after it surpassed the 800,000-unit sales milestone in the domestic market, the Maruti Brezza has breezed past the 900,000-unit mark. The game-changing compact SUV’s drive to 900,000 units has taken 87 months or a little over 7 years – from launch on March 8, 2016 through to early May 2023. In August 2022, Brezza sibling, the Maruti Ertiga MPV drove past 800,000 sales in the Indian market, having taken 10 years and five months since launch to do so.

As per Autocar Professional’s data analytics (see sales data table below), the Brezza (previously Vitara Brezza) has sold a total of 910,537 units from launch through to end-May 2023. And in the first two months of FY2024, the popular compact SUV is estimated to have sold 25,300 units, including 7,500 units of the Brezza CNG launched in mid-March 2023. Interestingly, sunroof variants contributed 42% or 10,626 units of the Brezza's total sales in April and May 2023.

The game-changing compact SUV’s drive to 900,000 units has taken 87 months or a little over 7 years – from launch on March 8, 2016 through to early May 2023.

Second-gen model ups the ante

The Maruti Brezza continues to ride a wave of demand after the introduction of the second-generation model on June 30, 2022. Prior to that, it had started to lose its sheen to arch rival Tata Nexon, which has been India’s best-selling utility vehicle in FY2022 and FY2023. But Maruti Suzuki and the Brezza are fighting back.

With the introduction of the new Brezza from July 2022, Maruti's popular compact SUV has regained market traction – the market performance from the past 11 months reveals that. It was the No. 1 SUV in August 2022 with 15,193 units (Tata Nexon: 15,085), in September 2022 with 15,445 units (Tata Nexon: 14,518), in February with 15,787 units (Nexon: 13,914), and in March with 16,227 units (Nexon: 14,769).

Hisashi Takeuchi, MD and CEO, Maruti Suzuki India with Shashank Srivastava, Senior Executive Officer (Marketing & Sales), at the launch of the second-generation Brezza on June 30, 2022.

Setting a rapid sales pace

The Brezza had surpassed the half-a-million or 500,000 sales milestone in January 2020. While the first 100,000 unit sales came up in 12 months, the 150,000-unit sales mark was crossed in 17 months, the 200,000 mark in 20 months, the 300,000 milestone  in 28 months, the 400,000 landmark in 35 months, the 450,000 milestone in 41 months, and half-a-million units in 46 months.

The next 200,000 units were sold in 24 months, with the run from 600,000 to 700,000 coming up in 11 months (January 2021-November 2021: 106,431). While the 700,000-800,000-unit sales run bettered that in 10 months, the last 100,000 sales have taken just eight months – the September 2022 to April 2023 period saw sales of 106,119 units.

What’s more, the Brezza’s rate of sales growth in the first four months of CY2023 is better than the second best-selling SUV in India – the Hyundai Creta. The Brezza has, between January-April 2023 sold a total of 58,209 units to the Creta’s 53,670 units. In FY2023, the Creta held onto its second rank by being just 4,707 units ahead of the Brezza. But that scenario could change in FY2023, given that the Brezza has become the latest Maruti model to get CNG power.

Petrol power replaces diesel, Brezza CNG checks in
Given the humongous demand for SUVs, particularly compact SUVs, the Brezza would have surpassed the 900,000-unit mark much sooner if it weren’t for a slowing down of its sales following Maruti Suzuki’s decision to exit the diesel market in April 2020. Add to that, the pandemic-induced market slowdown and the arrival of newer rivals like the Hyundai Venue and Mahindra XUV300, both also available with petrol and diesel engine options against Maruti's sole petrol-engined Vitara Brezza, launched on February 6, 2020.

The Brezza CNG, which has fuel economy of 25.51km/kg, has sold an estimated 7,500 units in April-May 2023.

A little over two years later, on June 30, 2022, the carmaker launched the second-generation model, the new Brezza (which does without the Vitara prefix) at Rs 799,000 for the base LXi trim and going up to Rs 13.96 lakh for the top-spec ZXI+ AT variant (ex-showroom, India). Offered in four trims – LXi, VXi, ZXi and ZXi+ – the petrol Brezza is powered by Maruti's new 1.5-litre, K15C engine that debuted on the Ertiga and XL6 facelifts. 

This engine develops 103hp and 137Nm and is mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox as standard. The 6-speed torque converter automatic transmission with paddle shifters that replaces the old 4-speed automatic is offered on the top three trims. The petrol-only SUV is the only one in the segment to feature mild-hybrid tech. Maruti Suzuki claims a maximum fuel efficiency of 20.15kpl for the manual versions, while the automatic versions return 19.80kpl. 

In mid-March 2023, the Brezza became India’s first compact SUV to get CNG power. Maruti’s 14th CNG-powered model, the Brezza CNG is sold in three trim levels – Rs 914,000 for the entry-level LXi variant, Rs 10.50 lakh for the mid-level VXi MT and Rs 11.90 lakh for the top-spec ZXi trim.

The Brezza CNG is powered by the same 1.5-litre K15C DualJet engine as in the CNG versions of the Ertiga and XL6 MPVs. The engine, which is offered with only a five-speed manual gearbox, develops 101hp and 136 Nm in petrol-only mode; however, the output dips to 88hp and 121.5Nm in CNG mode. Maruti Suzuki claims that the Brezza CNG offers a fuel economy of 25.51km/kg.

Over the past few years, with petrol and diesel prices hitting new highs, demand for CNG vehicles has risen and Maruti Suzuki is capitalising on the market demand. From around 76,000 units in FY2018, CNG sales of CNG variants have risen year on year to 106,443 units in FY2020, 157,954 units in FY2021, 234,196 units in FY2022 and an estimated 329,000 units in FY2023. At present, the company has a monthly manufacturing capacity of 35,000 CNG cars, a considerable ramp up of about 9,000 units from its earlier capacity of 26,000 cars in July 2022.

In the two-and-a-half months since its launch, the Brezza CNG has sold an estimated 7,500 units, which reflects the market potential given the fact that the running cost of CNG cars and SUVs is lower than their petrol/diesel-engined counterparts. Another growth enabler is the fast-growing CNG filling network across the country. At present, India has 5,283 CNG stations and this number is set to rapidly increase to 8,000 over the next couple of years.

At present, the CNG PV market is growing at twice the rate of the petrol and diesel PV market and is just this huge potential has drawn the attention of rival OEMs like Tata Motors, which aims to have 30% of its overall sales come from CNG PVs by 2030. The Brezza CNG will also see a new rival in the Tata Punch CNG, when it is launched.

Meanwhile, the Brezza’s run to a million units has just begun. As of end-May 2023, the Brezza has 55,000 units in total bookings, with an average waiting period of 18-19 weeks. Will the 900,000-to-1,000,000 units run take fewer than the eight months it took to Brezza from 800,000 to 900,000 units? Watch this space.

(With inputs from Mayank Dhingra)

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