Utility vehicles have been a major draw for car buyers in India as well as in overseas market for over three years now, with regular consumers as well as aficionados getting immensely attracted towards their meaner looks and the ease of driving offered by these high perched soft- and off-roaders.
Of the total 287,186 PVs sold in India in August 2018, UVs garnered cumulative sales of 73,073 units accounting for one-fourth of the total sales, albeit declining 7.11 percent year-on-year (YoY) due to a high year-ago base created by the GST-driven benefits when UVs got a significant cut of 12 percent in the applicable GST over the existing excise duty structure in place.
While the Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza continues to maintain its stranglehold over the segment, the news of the month is that the Tata Nexon has entered the Top 5 UVs chart for the first time. The indications that the Nexon would be a market game-changer were always there. On November 30, 2017, less than two-and-half-months since launch on September 21, 2017, the 10,000th production-ready model had rolled out. Then on February 27, 2018, the 25,000th Nexon exited the Pune factory. And on August 16, 2018, the company announced the production milestone of the 50,000th unit.
Interestingly, as per Autocar Professional’s estimates, sales of the Nexon in the domestic market would have crossed the 50,000 mark. In the 12-month September 2017 to August 2018 period, the Nexon has sold a total of 49,059 units, which works out to a monthly average of 4,088 units or a daily sales of 136 units. Do the math for the first 17 days of September 2018 and the Nexon would have gone home to another 2,316 buyers, enough to make the Nexon cross the 50,000 unit sales milestone.
Claiming the top spot, the Maruti Vitara Brezza sold a cumulative 13,271 units in the month; a year ago, it sales were a relatively better 14,396 units. The popular crossover has been one of the growth drivers for the company’s UV market share, which today touches close to 28 percent, with cumulative sales of 108,230 units, clocked between April and August 2018. Maruti Suzuki had also brought in an update to the Vitara Brezza, introducing styling tweaks, enhancing safety as well as giving it the option of an AMT gearbox for convenience.
At No. 2, Hyundai Creta, the midsize crossover from the Korean carmaker, went home to 10,394 buyers, maintaining its spot as well sales consistent as last year (August 2017: 10,158). Hyundai too had introduced a mid-life update to the Creta in May, bringing in a host of external styling tweaks such as a new grille, revised bumpers, headlamps, tail- lamps, alloy wheels and also a sunroof on its top trim. On the inside, the Creta now offers an electronically adjustable driver’s seat, along with getting a wireless smartphone charging pad. The Creta has aided Hyundai augment its UV market share to grow and currently stand at 13.72 percent between April and August 2018 with overall sales touching 53,106 units, where the market share in the same period in 2017 was pegged at 12.75 percent.
The Toyota Innova Crysta jumps two positions over last year to rightfully secure the third spot and clocking cumulative sales of 6,680 units (August 2017: 5,963). While the MPV is the ubiquitous go-to choice for buyers looking for a comfortable yet reliable people-mover in the space, Toyota has been able to command a premium for offering unmatched convenience with its product, making it a hit with private and fleet buyers alike. However, the recently launched Mahindra Marazzo, though not necessarily an arch rival, but has the potential to give a tough fight to the Innova with its comparable wheelbase, cabin space, as well as comfort features on offer, albeit at a substantially lower price point .
Sliding one position to No. 4, the Mahindra Bolero clocked sales of 6,030 units in the month, slightly declining from its year-ago sales which stood at 6,215 units in August 2017. A good monsoon across the country has been the major contributor to the Bolero’s strong numbers, seeing a healthy demand coming in from the rural and suburban areas.
Closing the tally, the Tata Nexon made its entry into the tally, going home to a total of 4,499 buyers and offering a well-rounded package at a balanced price to customers. Tata Motors has witnessed a substantial improvement in its UV market share which has grown from 2.68 percent between April-August 2017, to 7.88 percent in the same period in 2018. While the striking crossover differentiates itself with a very contemporary design, what sets it apart from the crowd are its swooping roofline, concept-like textured elements on the outside, and an aggressive stance. The Nexon comes with a 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol and 1.2-litre turbocharged diesel motors, both being mated to a 6-speed manual gearbox and having a 6-speed AMT as an option as well.
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