Nexon, Brezza and Creta battle for SUV crown in FY2024

The best-selling SUVs for Tata Motors, Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai Motor India are engaged in an intense battle to be king in a fiscal year where utility vehicle sales have already surpassed FY2023’s record 2 million units and are accelerating towards the 2.5 million milestone.

By Ajit Dalvi calendar 17 Feb 2024 Views icon6109 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
Nexon, Brezza and Creta battle for SUV crown in FY2024

As demand continues to soar for SUVs as well as MPVs in India, leading utility vehicle (UV) manufacturers have ramped up production of their popular models to deliver as many as they can to a hungry market. In the first 10 months of FY2024, a total of 20,61,075 utility vehicles (UVs) have already been sold, recording robust 25% year-on-year growth, and surpassing FY2023’s record UV sales of 20,03,718 units by 57,357 units. At this pace, India UV Inc should achieve cumulative sales of nearly 2.5 million units this fiscal, which will raise the UV industry’s benchmark even higher.

Of the over 110 UVs and a mind-boggling 800-plus variants currently sold in India, eight models – three from Maruti Suzuki (Brezza, Ertiga, Fronx), two  from Hyundai Motor India (Creta, Venue) and Tata Motors (Nexon, Punch), and one from Mahindra & Mahindra (Scorpio) – have each sold over 100,000 units in the first 10 months of FY2024. Together, these eight models account for an estimated 996,886 units or 48% of the total 2 million UVs sold between April 2023 and January 2024.

At end-January 2024, the Tata Nexon had a slender lead of 3,726 units over the Maruti Brezza in ongoing FY2024. The Hyundai Creta has sold 131,039 units and has over 51,000 bookings for the recently launched new model. 

Of these, three models – the Tata Nexon, Maruti Brezza and Hyundai Creta – have each sold over 130,000 units and are engaged in a no-holds-barred battle for the title of India’s best-selling SUV of FY2024. With two months left for FY2024 to come to an end, the race to the top bids fair to be a tightly contested one.

The Nexon, India's best-selling SUV in FY2022 and FY2023, is currently in the lead. Since launch in September 2017, it has sold over 600,000 units. 

Tata Nexon: aiming to be No. 1 SUV for third straight year
In calendar year 2023, with estimated sales of 170,312 units, the Tata Nexon ceded the crown to the Maruti Brezza (170,588 units) by just 276 units but is currently ahead in fiscal year 2024. At the end of January 2024, with estimated wholesales of 143,244 units, the Tata Nexon has a lead of 3,726 units over the Maruti Brezza (139,518 units) and of 12,205 units over the Hyundai Creta (131,039 units). The Tata Nexon, which wrested the title of India’s best-selling SUV from the Hyundai Creta in FY2022 with sale of 124,130 units, maintained that No. 1 status in FY2023 with sales of 172,138 units

Launched in September 2017, the Tata Nexon has sold a total of 629,083 units, becoming the first model in Tata Motors’ seven-model ‘New Forever’ range of passenger vehicles to sell over 600,000 units in the domestic market. In a little over six years, it has contributed 29% to Tata Motors’ total PV sales of over 2.14 million units.

The Nexon has hugely benefited from Tata Motors’ multi-fuel strategy – there are all of 43 variants on offer across petrol (20 variants), diesel (14 variants) and electric (nine variants), which means there is a Nexon for every budget. Earlier this month, it showcased the Nexon iCNG at the Bharat Mobility Expo. Both the ICE and electric Nexons have received fresh updates – the new Nexon (petrol and diesel) and the new Nexon.ev were launched in September 2023.

What will give a fillip to Nexon sales in the coming months is the snazzy compact SUV acing the Global NCAP crash test with a top five-star rating for the second time. This time around, the test was conducted under GNCAP’s new and more stringent protocol. Furthermore, Tata Motors’ slashing of Nexon.ev prices by up to Rs 120,000 will add more tailwind to the zero-emission variant’s sales.

Launched in FY2016, the Brezza was India’s best-selling SUV for four straight years – FY2017, FY2018, FY2019 and FY2020. Will it win in FY2024? 

Maruti Brezza: Looking to regain the crown it had for four fiscals
The Maruti Brezza, which changed SUV market dynamics when it was launched in FY2016, was India’s best-selling SUV for four straight years – in FY2017, FY2018, FY2019 and FY2020. In FY2021, it ceded the title to the Hyundai Creta, was ranked third in FY2022 and FY2023, and is currently second in the wholesale rankings in the first 10 months of FY2024 with an estimated 139,518 units.

The level of demand for the popular SUV can be gauged from the fact that the Brezza has driven past the one-million sales milestone in India, with the last 100,000-unit sales achieved in a scant eight months.

What helped accelerate sales is the introduction of the Brezza CNG variant in mid-March 2023. This came on the back of the company’s success with the launch of the second-generation model on June 30, 2022. Prior to that, the Brezza had started to lose its sheen to the Tata Nexon but Maruti Suzuki and the Brezza are fighting back and how.

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 and develops 103hp and 137 Nm and is mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox as standard. 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 four trim levels – entry-level LXi, mid-level VXi MT, top-spec ZXi and the dual-tone ZXi.

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.

Launched on January 16, 2024, the new Hyundai Creta has received over 51,000 bookings. 

Hyundai Creta: India’s best-selling midsize SUV pumps up the volume

Keeping close company with the two high-selling compact SUVs is India’s best-selling midsize SUV, the Hyundai Creta. At 131,039 units sold in the first 10 months of FY2024, it is somewhat behind the  Tata Nexon and Maruti Brezza but seems to be making a concerted bid nonetheless. Between April 2023 and January 2024, monthly wholesales of the Creta crossed the 14,000-unit mark four times, 13,000 units three times. Numbers dropped to 9,243 in December 2023 mainly because of the new Creta’s launch in January 2024 which saw numbers rise again to 13,212 units. The last 100,000-unit sales have come in a scant eight months, reflecting the sustained demand for the popular Hyundai model.

The Creta has comfortably retained its longstanding title as India’s best-selling midsize SUV. In CY2023, with sales of 157,311 units, up 12% YoY (CY2022: 140,895 units), the Creta contributed 44% to the company’s estimated UV sales of 360,823 units last year.

The MY2024 facelifted Creta was launched on January 16, priced at Rs 11 lakh for the entry-level E petrol-manual variant, with introductory prices going up to Rs 20 lakh for the top-spec SX(O) diesel-automatic trim. With five engine and gearbox options, there are a total of 19 variants on offer. This pricing strategy places the new Creta bang in the middle of the midsize SUV segment, with rivals like the Maruti Grand Vitara and the Citroen C3 Aircross starting lower. While the top-spec petrol-automatic Creta is among the more expensive models, its diesel sibling is priced nearly at par with the Kia Seltos diesel.

Hyundai Motor India, which aims to grow its SUV contribution to 65 percent in its total volumes in CY2024 from 60% in CY2023, has already received over 51,000 bookings for the new Creta with around 55 percent of them for the petrol variants and 45 percent for the diesel.

Three’s company but there’s room only for one at the top
Each of these three models, which are its manufacturer’s best-selling SUVs, have helped power their company’s growth in the ultra-competitive SUV market.

Maruti Suzuki, the UV market leader, with 10-month cumulative sales of 522,626 units, up 77% YoY (April 2022-January 2023: 295,525 units), sold an additional 227,101 UVs in the fiscal to date, with the April 2023-January 2024 UV sales contributing 36.12% to the company’s total PV sales of 1.44 million units in the first 10 months of FY2024.  And the Brezza with 139,518 units has alone contributed to 27% of the company’s UV sales.

For Tata Motors, whose four-model UV portfolio comprises the Nexon, Punch, Harrier and Safari, the Nexon continues to be the key growth driver. Of the estimated cumulative sales of 314,653 units in the first 10 months of FY2024, the Nexon accounts for 45.52 percent. And the Creta, with 131,039 units out of Hyundai’s total UV sales of 319,122 units, has a 41% share.

Clearly, the race is on for the top SUV title this fiscal and we will have to wait for February and March 2024 wholesales to know who clinches the crown. There’s another surprise challenger waiting in the wings – the Tata Punch, which is available with petrol and CNG power and has just gone electric. Stay tuned.

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