A total of 65,506 utility vehicles (UVs) were sold in December 2018, down 2.33 percent year on year. While the UV segment had been driving in the fast lane for most of 2018 and provided a strong buffer to moderating passenger vehicle (PV) sales, their popularity of late has seen a decline with buyers becoming conscious of fuel efficiency. With a clutch of new models set to be launched in the next few days, the UV market will soon see a recharge. But more on that later.
Maruti’s Vitara Brezza maintains its dominance and continues to lead the pack of the top five UVs, selling 9,667 units in the month (December 2017:11,540). The popular crossover has been one of the growth drivers for the company’s UV market share, which today stands at 28.49 percent, with cumulative sales of 194,370 units, clocked between April and December 2018.
The Brezza, in its updated avatar, now sees the option of a diesel AMT, along with safety kit including dual-front airbags, ABS and EBD becoming standard across the range. But there is new competition coming along and it remains to be seen how the Brezza performs in the rest of the year.
The consistent No. 2 is the Hyundai Creta with sales of 7,631 units (December 2017: 6,755). Hyundai brought in the facelift version of the Creta on May 21 last year and updated the crossover with styling tweaks giving it a revised front grille, refreshed headlamps, tail-lamps, new diamond-cut alloy wheels and also a sunroof in its top-end trim. The effort seems to have paid off.
At No. 3 is the recently launched Maruti Ertiga, which in its second-generation avatar, has grown in its dimensions to offer better space and comfort on the inside, thus, ironing out most gremlins of the outgoing model. A total of 7,155 Ertigas were despatched to Maruti showrooms last month. With the option of an all-new 1.5-litre petrol, as well as a diesel engine, it targets both private buyers and fleet operators. The new Ertiga ticks all the right boxes when it comes to fit and finish, ride quality, practicality and overall being a value-for-money package. Interestingly, the Ertiga is only 476 units short of the Creta’s tally in December 2018.
The Toyota Innova Crysta takes fourth place with 6,551 units (December 2017: 5,947), a year-on-year growth of 10.15 percent. With the new Innova's USPs being its spacious and comfy cabin, strong engines and plenty of creature comforts, this Toyota is easily the MPV benchmark in India. Reason why it continues to see sustained and surging demand.
While buyers in Tier 1 cities might be reconsidering sedans over their crossover counterparts, the demand for rugged UVs persists in the rural and semi-urban sectors, given the increasing infrastructural development in the country. At No. 5 position is the hardy Mahindra Bolero with despatches of 4,832 units in December, up from the 5,529 units it had clocked in December 2017.
The third week of January 2019 has three new vehicle launches including two SUVs – the Nissan Kicks on January 22 and the Tata Harrier on January 23. And February 14 will see the launch of the Mahindra XUV300. Stay tuned as the action in the SUV market is set to heat up and turn more exciting. Watch this space.
Also read: Top 10 Passenger Vehicles in December 2018