Amidst the global economy facing some difficult times due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic which has prompted many countries to take the recourse of locking down major cities, including in India and bring non-essential industries such as automotive to a grinding halt, tabulation for the best-performing passenger vehicles (PVs) in February in India is out.
The Top 10 list for the last month has a lot going on with a near-equal spread between market leader Maruti Suzuki and a tough fight from arch rivals from Korea’s Hyundai Motor Corporation – Hyundai Motor India and Kia Motors India. While the list is usually dominated by products from Maruti Suzuki, the Kia Seltos and Hyundai Venue have displaced erstwhile segment champions Creta and Vitara Brezza, respectively. Can the Korean duo play even stronger in the coming times?
Let’s have a closer look at the chart in comparison to February 2019:
At the No. 1 spot, the Maruti Swift emerged as the top-selling car in the country with sales tallying 18,696 units (February 2019: 18,224 / +2.58%) last month. The popular hatchback gained one spot from last year, followed by the new Wagon R which went home to 18,235 buyers (15,661 / +16.43%) and recorded a notable jump of three positions.
The cheapest Maruti on offer, the Maruti Alto dropped two places to No. 3 to register sales of 17,921 units (24,751 / - 27.59) while its bigger sibling Maruti Baleno slid one place to No.4 to sell 16,585 units (17,944 / -7.57%). The Baleno also crossed the 700,000-unit sales milestone in January and including the February numbers, its overall volumes stand at 737,318 units, with 633,452 units of petrol and 103,866 units of diesel. The Baleno was introduced a little over five years ago and is retailed only from 360 Nexa showrooms across 200 cities and towns in India. It became the first premium hatchback to surpass this milestone.
At No. 5, the Kia Seltos entered the sales chart and displaced the segment king and cousin Hyundai Creta and how. The Seltos went home to 14,024 buyers in the month and since launch in August 2019, has clocked cumulative sales of 74,700 units. Its February sales have beceme the second-best so far with January numbers at 15,000 units being the highest. Now, as it dethrones the Creta which clocked 10,206 units in February 2019, Seltos will again need to face some in-house competition as Hyundai has introduced the next-generation Creta with a similar variant-heavy and aggressive pricing strategy.
The Maruti Ertiga MPV secured the No. 6 spot selling 11,782 units, its best performance in the first 11 months of this year, and the Eeco van entered into the list at the No. 7 position with sales of 11,782 units.
On the other hand, while Hyundai’s Grand i10 gained one place to be at No. 8 position with sales of 10,407 units (9,065 / +14.80%), the Hyundai Venue replaced Maruti’s Vitara Brezza altogether and went home to 10,321 buyers in the month. The Brezza, which had already started slowing down due to the company’s announcement of making an exit from diesel, was launched in a petrol-only avatar last month. It will be interesting to see the new fight between the two compact crossovers from Hyundai and Maruti once BS VI gets implemented from April onwards.
Closing the tally is the Maruti S-Presso, which went on to sell 9,578 units in the month. The S-Presso was launched in September 2019 as an entry-level hatchback above the Maruti Alto and has been enticing buyers with its practicality, peppy performance and fuel efficiency. The car comes offered with an AMT option too.
While February saw a lot of shuffling of places among crucial brands in the market, March, from the looks of it, could be troublesome with India imposing a lockdown on its cities from March 25 for the next three weeks at least, in order to cut down the spread of Covid-19. There are already reports of spiralling losses that the automotive industry is going to face every day, and then some on the catastrophe a non-extension of the deadline to exhaust BS IV stock could bring. It’s a tough time for the industry and all stakeholders will have to stay strong and bonded to fight for better times.
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