Even though September was a tepid month for the UV segment, amid high fuel prices and a high year-ago base, indications are that the festive season will provide the fireworks that OEMs seek.
September 2018 turned out to be a month that automakers would like to put behind them. With PV sales down 5.61 percent to 292,658 units, and utility vehicles also down a substantial 8.39 percent, only vans with 18,156 units were in positive territory (+7.27%). Nonetheless, UVs accounted for 26 percent of overall PV sales, ensuring that one out of four PVs sold was a toughie.
In the battle for SUV-vival of the fittest in the competitive Indian UV market, the Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza and the Hyundai Creta remain well entrenched in the top two positions. Maruti is making as many Brezzas as possible as the market can absorb and will be looking to the auspicious day of Dussehra (September 18), when people prefer to buy a new vehicle, to accelerate sales in October.
In September 2018, the Vitara Brezza was bought by 14,425 people across the country, taking its first-half FY2019 total to 81,312 or a monthly average of 13,552 units or 451 units every day. The popular crossover has been the main growth drivers for the company’s UV market share, which is 27.96 percent in the April-September 2018 period, which saw a total of 129,869 Maruti UVs sold. This means the Vitara Brezza contributed to 62 percent of that number. Earlier this year, Maruti Suzuki 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.
That's also just what Hyundai Motor India did to its stellar performer in the UV space: the Creta. The Hyundai Creta, the consistent No. 2, which received a mid-life facelift in May 2018, sold 11,000 units in September, taking its H1 FY2019 total to 63,322 units or an average of 10,553 units each month. maintaining its spot as well sales consistent as last year (August 2017: 10,158).
The facelifted Creta gets 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 accounts for 98 percent of Hyundai's total UV sales of 64,277 units in H1 2019, enabling a UV market share of 13.84 for the Korean carmaker, compared to 12.44 percent in H1 FY2018.
At No. 3 is the tough warhorse, the Mahindra Bolero which soldiers on steadfastly in the Top 5 UVs chart. The Bolero sold a total of 7,046 units last month, and has cumulatively sold 42,517 units in H1 2019, giving it a monthly average of 7,086 units, not a figure to be scoffed at. With rural incomes improving, expect the Bolero to report better numbers in the months ahead albeit diesel prices are playing spoilsport.
The Toyota Innova Crysta is at No. 4, the same position as a year ago, with sale of 6,477 units and clocking cumulative sales of 39,347 units. 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. The Marazzo sold 2,829 units in September and takes its August-September 2018 sales to 4,591 units. Early days yet for the latest MPV in town.
Rounding off the Top 5 UV list is the Tata Nexon, which is in the best-sellers chart for the second month in a row. In August 2018, it had sold 4,499 units and has sold 4,297 units in September. Also confirming Autocar Professional's estimation that Tata Motors' first-ever compact SUV had driven past the 50,000 units mark, total Nexon sales in the domestic market now add up to 53,356 units since launch in September 2017. This gives the capable SUV a monthly average of 4,104 units.
Importantly, the Nexon has been a prime mover and shaker in the UV segment, helping Tata Motors more than double its UV market share, which has grown from 3.31 percent in April-September 2017, to 7.91 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.
Also read: Tata, Toyota, Hyundai and FCA India increase UV market share in H1 FY2019
Top 5 Passenger Vehicles – September 2018
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