There’s no denying the fact that utility vehicles (UVs) and add sports to that (SUVs) are the power that are revving up the overall passenger vehicle market. Of total PV sales of 276,554 units in January 2021 (11.14%), UVs with 111,494 units accounted for 40% of total sales. What’s more, they notched handsome 37% YoY growth, when cars are down 1.16% (153,244) and vans down 6% (11,816). No surprise then that vehicle manufacturers are rushing to roll out new models, particularly compact SUVs.
Of the many UVs in the market, comprising mainly SUVs and some MPVs, some see surging demand come their way. The top five best-selling models, between them, account for 48.50% of total UV sales in January 2021, leaving the balance 51.50% to the remain 70-odd models also in the fray.
These models maintain their dominance in the April 2020-January 2021 numbers: of the total 788,601 UVs sold in the 10-month period, these five account for 377,574 units or 48% of total sales.
Come along for the number-crunching ride as we take a close look at how this five-pack has performed in January and the past 10 months of FY2021.
No. 1 – Hyundai Creta
January 2021: 12,284 units
April 2020-Jan 2021: 94,967 units
The new Hyundai Creta, now in its 11th month of sale in India, continues firing on all cylinders. The popular SUV is maintaining its pedal-on-the-metal position in the Top 5 stakes even as the competition is growing in the markeat.
In January 2021, it clocked sale of 12,284 units, comprising 4,968 petrol and 7,316 diesel variants. For the 10-month period of April 2020-January 2021, the Creta’s cumulative sales total 94,967 units comprising 37,758 petrol and 57,209 diesel. This makes for a 40:60 percent split in favour of diesel, indicative of the fact that the Korean carmaker’s strategy to remain bullish on diesel is paying off.
The importance of the new Creta to Hyundai’s standing in the market as the No. 2 player can be gleaned from the fact that of the total 166,837 UVs it has sold in the past 10 months, the Creta accounts for 57%.
The Creta’s pack of powertrains comprises 1.5-litre petrol, 1.5-litre diesel and a 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine options. Clearly, the new BS VI-compliant diesel motor has outpaced the other two when it comes to market pull.
The new Creta, which competes with the Kia Seltos, MG Hector, Renault Duster and Nissan Kicks, is very much on the upswing. The Creta, along with the Venue, has helped drive Hyundai’s UV market share to 21.16% , just below Maruti Suzuki India which has 22.32 percent.
No. 2 – Hyundai Venue
January 2021: 11,779 units
April 2020-Jan 2021: 71,026 units
The Hyundai Venue, whose sales have picked up in the past couple of months, is back in the reckoning with a strong 11,779 units, which is its second-best monthly performance, after December 2020’s 12,313 units, in the fiscal year till now.
Unlike its sibling Creta which sees customers preferring it in diesel guise, the Venue sees overwhelming demand for its petrol variants. Between April 2020-January 2021, the Venue has gone home to 71,026 buyers with the fuel-wise variant split being 54,132 petrol and 16,894 diesel or 76:24 in favour of petrol.
The recent past has seen Hyundai introduce minor updates to the Venue. In addition to the upgrade to BS VI, the company has added a new ‘Sport’ trim and a clutchless manual gearbox, or intelligent manual transmission (iMT) in Hyundai-speak, to the model’s line-up. But new competition in the form of the Kia Sonet, Toyota Urban Cruiser, Nissan Magnite and Renault Kiger is already in the market.
No. 3 – Maruti Vitara Brezza
January 2021: 10,623 units
April 2020-Jan 2021: 71,776 units
The Maruti Vitara Brezza, which is now available only in petrol, clocked despatches of 10,623 units, in January 2021, taking its April 2020-January 2021 total to 71,776 units. It marks smart resurgence of demand for the model, which has traded places from diesel to petrol.
In January 2020, the Vitara Brezza had sold 10,134 units (all diesel) – a year later, it has posted sales of 10,623 units (all petrol). In the April 2020-January 2021 period, cumulative sales are 71,776 units Compared to 98,262 units a year ago. Clearly, it is getting there.
The Vitara Brezza shares its 105hp and 138Nm, 1.5-litre K15B petrol engine with other Marutis like the Ciaz, Ertiga and XL6. A 5-speed manual gearbox is standard, while a 4-speed torque converter-equipped auto is available as an option. Interestingly, Suzuki’s SHVS Smart Hybrid tech is reserved for automatic versions of the compact SUV only. ARAI fuel-efficiency figures rate variants with the 5-speed manual at 17.03kpl while the automatic, with the mild-hybrid tech, has an ARAI-rated 18.76kpl.
The Brezza is retailed through the company’s Arena network, which has around 2,600 outlets spread across 1,900 cities. The massive footprint, combined with the automaker’s brand image, is expected to continue being a significant force behind the Brezza’s sales.
No. 4 – Kia Seltos
January 2021: 9,869 units
April 2020-Jan 2021: 70,311 units
At No. 4 is the Seltos, Kia Motors India’s first product launched on August 22, 2019. A year ago, barely two months into its launch it had sold 12,788 units and taken the top position too. The new Hyundai Creta rolled out in March 2020 and since then the Seltos has been feeling the pressure. Sibling Sonet’s recent rollout and the fact the overwhelming market demand for compact SUVs also seems to have impacted Seltos numbers.
In January 2021, the Seltos clocked a total of 9,869 units, comprising 5,798 diesel and 4,071 petrol variants. For the April 2020-January 2021 period, Kia has sold a total of 70,311 units comprising 30,669 diesel and 39,642 petrol variants – making for a fuel-wise split of 44:56 percent in favour of petrol.
The Seltos has been instrumental in giving Kia a strong foothold in the Indian market and the company currently has a 15.20% UV market share – not bad for an 18-months-in-the-market OEM which is fourth in the pecking order among 16 UV players.
The Seltos recently received a three-star crash test rating in the latest round of tests conducted by Global NCAP, under its Safer Cars for India initiative. The entry-level variant of the Seltos was chosen for the crash test.
No. 5 – Maruti Ertiga
January 2021: 9,565 units
April 2021-Jan 2021: 69,494
Maruti Suzuki India's MPV, which was a surprising and a speedy mover in FY2020 with total sales of 90,543 units (39% YoY growth) is maintaining good sales momentum in FY2021. In January 2021, the Ertiga sold a total of 9,565 units, accounting for 40% of total UV sales in the month for the carmaker.
In the April 2020-January 2021 period, the Ertiga’s tally is 69,494, marginally down on the 74,982 units a year ago (which had seen contribution of 39,722 diesel Ertigas). That vaccum seems to have be filled in by the growing demand for the CNG Ertiga, which with 23,932 units accounts for 34% of total Ertiga sales, the balance 45,512 units being petrol variants.
The future looks bright for the UV segment, what with a gaggle of new products already have been launched and some new ones on their way. In sync with the global trend, demand continues unabated for compact SUVs and most OEMs are putting their shoulder to the UV wheel to produce more as manufacturing plants return to their former humming mode.
Also, like their passenger car brethren, consumers are fast making the shift to petrol-engined UVs. Demand for diesel UVs has dropped sharply: from 60.84% in April 2019-January 2020 to 41% in April 2020-January 2021.