Nexa sales cross 2.5 million units, Baleno tops, Grand Vitara and Fronx new growth drivers

Premium retail sales brand Nexa, which targets young India with high-on-value products and a dynamic showroom experience, is paying off handsomely. From a 5% share of Maruti Suzuki’s 1.3 million car and SUV sales in FY2016, Nexa sales hit a record 561,050 units in FY2024 and 32% of 1.75 million passenger vehicle dispatches.  

By Ajit Dalvi calendar 08 Jun 2024 Views icon2093 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
Nexa sales cross 2.5 million units, Baleno tops, Grand Vitara and Fronx new growth drivers

Twelve months after it recorded cumulative sales of two million sales and customers in March 2023, Maruti Suzuki India’s premium Nexa retail sales channel has surpassed the 2.5 million-units milestone in India. As per company and SIAM industry wholesales data, cumulative Nexa vehicle dispatches totalled 2.58 million units at the end of March 2024. Together with April (42,727 units) and May 2024 wholesales, the big Nexa number increases to an estimated 2.67 million units.

Eight years and six months after Maruti Suzuki kicked off the Nexa initiative in July 2015, the premium sales channel's sales have crossed 2.5 million units. 

The latest sales milestone came  in March 2024, 104 months or eight years and six months after the carmaker kicked off the Nexa initiative on July 23, 2015, followed by the launch of its first Nexa model – the now-discontinued S-Cross – on August 5, 2015.

Since then, the carmaker has launched eight other models – which constitute two hatchbacks (Baleno, Ignis), one sedan (Ciaz) and four SUVs (XL6, Grand Vitara, Fronx and Jimny) and one MPV (Invicto). Three of these models – Fronx, Jimny and Invicto – were launched in FY2024.

 At present, Nexa has eight models on sale: two hatchbacks, four SUVs, one MPV and one sedan. Three (Fronx, Jimny, Invicto) were launched in FY2024. 

As is known, Nexa operates separately from the regular Maruti Arena channel, which retails the other nine Maruti Suzuki models (Alto, S-Presso, Celerio, Wagon R, Swift, Dzire, Vitara Brezza, Ertiga and Eeco), differentiating itself as a premium, higher-priced offering with all the bells and whistles, with a heightened focus on customer satisfaction. 

Strategic move to ride consumer shift to premium cars and SUVs pays dividends
For Maruti Suzuki, Nexa was a strategic marketing move to diversify its retail offerings in terms of value and also target a new emerging segment of customers with changing preferences – Young India.

Clearly, the differentiating sales strategy has paid off handsomely. From 68,774 units and a 5.26% share of Maruti Suzuki’s total PV sales of 13,05,351 units in FY2016, Nexa’s contribution jumped to 19.92% in FY2018 – 327,538 units out of 16,43,467 PVs. Demand dipped in the Covid-impacted FY2020 and FY2021 but revived to 369,158 units in FY2023 when Nexa models had a 23% share of Maruti Suzuki’s total PV sales of 1.60 million units. FY2024 was the best-ever fiscal for Nexa – sales jumped by 52% YoY to 561,050 units, crossing the half-a-million mark for the first time and accounting for 32% of the company’s wholesales of 1.75 million cars and SUVs -- its best domestic market sales for a fiscal year.

Importantly, in what is a sign that the differentiating strategy has been spot-on, nearly 50% of Nexa customers are under 35 years old and a very high percentage of them being first-time car buyers –

Baleno is Nexa best-seller, Grand Vitara and Fronx new growth drivers
Nexa’s growth over the past nine fiscal years is mirrored by the number of models Maruti Suzuki has introduced. From just two models (S-Cross and Baleno) in FY2016, the Nexa model range has expanded to eight in FY2024 (Baleno, Ignis, Ciaz, XL6, Grand Vitara, Fronx, Jimny and Invicto), with one model (S-Cross) being discontinued in August 2022.

The snazzy Baleno hatchback is Nexa's best-seller by a huge margin over other models. Introduced in October 2015, the Baleno has sold 1.45 million units and accounts for 56% of all Nexa sales till end-FY2024. Its highest fiscal year sales were in FY2019 (212,330 units). FY2023 sales (202,901 units) came close to that albeit FY2024 sales were down 3.59% on FY2023 at 195,607 units.

The Ignis, launched in January 2017, with cumulative sales of 276,762 units, has an 11% share of Nexa sales till date. Its best year was FY2023 (59,852 units).

The third highest contributor to Nexa sales is the Ciaz sedan with 184,008 units and a 7% share albeit sales have fallen sharply over the years. From 58,913 units in FY2018 to 10,337 units in FY2024, it’s been quite a climbdown.

Ranked fourth on the Nexa ladder-board in terms of total sales is the Grand Vitara midsize SUV. Launched in September 2022, the Grand Vitara has been one of Maruti Suzuki’s recent successes – the 172,484 units give it a 6.66% share of Nexa sales.

In October 2022, Maruti Suzuki, which has the largest portfolio of CNG cars in India, expanded its factory-fitted CNG offerings to Nexa and the Baleno and XL6. In January 2023, the recently launched Grand Vitara also got the CNG treatment

Meanwhile, the XL6, which is in its fifth year, notched its best-ever annual sales in FY2024: 45,131 units, up 24% YoY (FY2023: 36,423 units).

FY2024 saw Maruti Suzuki launch three all-new Nexa models – Fronx, Jimny and the Invicto. Of these three, the Fronx compact SUV has been the most successful – not only was it the fastest Indian passenger vehicle to hit the 100,000 sales mark in just 10 months, but it also surpassed the 150,000 unit milestone in just 14 months after launch in April 2023. This gives it a 5% share of total Nexa sales and a 24% share in FY2024.

The Jimny, of which much was expected, however has been quite a different story. Launched in June 2023, the five-door model clocked sales of 17,009 units, far less than what Maruti Suzuki had targeted.

In July 2023, Maruti launched the newest Nexa model – the Invicto MPV at Rs 24.79 lakh – aiming to tap the potential of the over-Rs 20 lakh price segment which has grown in tandem with the increasing affluence of the Indian car buyer. The Invicto, offered in 7- and 8-seat configurations, is part of the Toyota-Suzuki global alliance and is based on the Toyota Innova HyCross.

Pampering Nexa customers with premium experiences
The Nexa premium sales channel can be credited with having ushered in a new showroom dynamic in India. Targeted at drawing young, aspirational and discerning car and SUV buyers, Nexa opened in 2015 with a monochrome black-and-white theme with the entire lighting spotlighting the product. High levels of hospitality and pampering of the customer with specially designed cubicles and separate seating areas earmarked to ensure privacy was quite a differentiator from regular retail outlets at the time. That’s something other OEMs have taken up in the past few years.

What’s more, back in 2015, Nexa provided an innovative digital experience with iPads and a paperless environment which are de rigueur now. In January 2020, Nexa launched its augmented reality showroom, which enables customers to explore Nexa cars in a digitalised format.

From 40 outlets at the time of the premium retail channel’s opening in July 2015, Nexa now has nearly 500 showrooms in around 300 cities across the country. This has ensured ample reach in the farthest regions of India – in fact, rural India is also warming up to Nexa, which is also seeing strong demand from town and country.

In September 2021, Maruti Suzuki launched an industry-first AI-based 24x7 scan and voice-enabled virtual car assistant app called ‘S-Assist’ for Nexa customers, providing an immersive online post-purchase experience.

Interestingly, almost 30% of Nexa sales – which translates into over 168,000 units in FY2024 – comes from non-urban centres. Recognising this trend, in February 2024, Maruti Suzuki had the nationwide launch of its compact-format Nexa Service workshops to reach out to customers in non-urban centres. The first six centres are strategically located in Ateli (Haryana), Charkhi Dadri (Haryana), Bankura (West Bengal), Dahod (Gujarat), Nirmal (Telangana), and Ooty (Tamil Nadu). The company now plans to set up 100 such workshops by the end of FY2025.

Built over a 75 square metre area, these workshops are equipped with a dedicated front office, customer lounge, service bay, and parking bay. Customers can avail of common services like periodic maintenance and regular repairs at these workshops. Having introduced Nexa Service in 2017, Maruti Suzuki has expanded this network to over 390 touchpoints across the country.

The next Nexa model is likely to be the Maruti eVX, the first electric vehicle from India's passenger vehicle market leader slated for rollout around March 2025. Meanwhile, one can expect the Nexa sales momentum to continue to be robust and keep bringing in the big numbers for the carmaker. 

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