Best-sellers always have it good, so what if the month happens to be a truncated one? May 2020 saw passenger vehicle OEMs beginning production after a 50-day shutdown and gingerly rolling out new vehicles from their long-shuttered plants after mid-month. As a result, despatches began in the second half of the month as did sales from just-re-opened showrooms, albeit many through digital connect in the current time of social distancing.
While the sales numbers for May 2020 cannot be measured as a benchmark either for the month or against year-ago sales, for the number-crunchers, it’s worth knowing who’s on top for the month.
No. 1 Hyundai Creta: 3,212 units
Hyundai’s new Creta takes numero uno position for the month with 3,212 units, which marks a newsy start to the next-generation model. With the first-generation model getting long in the tooth, Hyundai launched the second-generation model on March 16 at an introductory price tag of Rs 999,000 (ex-showroom, all-India) available in five engine-gearbox configurations and five trim levels.The new Creta shares its engine and gearbox options with the Kia Seltos. The three BS VI-compliant engines on offer include a 115hp, 1.5-litre, naturally-aspirated petrol engine; a 115hp, 1.5-litre turbocharged diesel unit; and a 1.4-litre turbo-petrol mill. Despite the shared powertrains, the new Creta posts slightly higher ARAI-certified mileage than its counterpart from Kia.
Hyundai has pinned much hope on the new Creta, which competes with the Kia Seltos, MG Hector, Renault Duster and Nissan Kicks. And the SUV looks like it will fulfil that promise considering the Chennai-based OEM has confirmed that it has 24,000 bookings for the new Creta in hand. Will the Creta maintain its No. 1 position in June? We’ll have to wait a month to find out.
No. 2 Maruti Ertiga: 2,353 units
Maruti Suzuki India's MPV, which has been a surprise and a speedy mover in FY2020 with total sales of 90,543 units (39% YoY growth) has maintained its momentum even in the few days of sale last month. In May 2020, the comfortable people-mover went home to 2,353 buyers, enough for it to take second place in the Top 5 UVs list. The Maruti Suzuki Ertiga, which was voted the 2019 Autocar Car of the Year, is an extremely, comfortable, versatile and user-friendly family car. With Maruti having moved out of diesel this April, the company will be keen to see the petrol-powered Ertiga make gains in the marketplace. It looks to be doing just that.
No. 3 Mahindra Bolero: 1,715 units
The Mahindra Bolero continues to be the sturdy workhorse that India refuses to let go of. In May 2020, the hardy SUV saw sale of 1,715 units, enough to give it third spot in a month of very tight numbers.
End-March saw Mahindra & Mahindra upgraded the Bolero to meet the more stringent BS 6 emission norms, along with giving the SUV a facelift in the process. The updated utility vehicle is available in a choice of three trim levels and comes powered by Mahindra’s 1.5-litre three-cylinder mHawk75 diesel engine, developing 76hp and 210Nm of torque.
The BS 6 Bolero is available as a 7-seater as standard and gets cosmetic updates, including a revised grille, headlamps and tail-lamps, along with new bumpers. The updated Bolero also meets the upcoming pedestrian safety norms and interestingly is the first model in India with metal bumpers to meet the norms.
No. 4 Kia Seltos: 1,611 units
At the top for many of the 10 months of its existence, the Seltos with 1,611 units takes fourth position. Somewhat down, given its regular robust monthly numbers but just enough to get into the best-sellers chart for May 2020.
The Seltos, Kia Motors India’s first product took the market by storm and in a very short span of a scant 8 months, helped the Korean carmaker, sister brand to Hyundai Motor India, grab an 8.97% share of the UV market in FY2020 nwith sale of 84,903 units (81,716 Seltos SUV and 3,187 Carnival MPV), becoming the new No. 4 UV player after Maruti Suzuki India (24.87%), Mahindra & Mahindra (18.96%), Hyundai Motor India (18.69%) and ahead of more well-established OEMs like Toyota Kirloskar Motor (7.07%), Tata Motors (6.28%) and Ford India (4.68%).
On June 1, Kia rolled out a 10-feature re-jig to the crossover’s variant line-up. Pricing of the refreshed Seltos starts at Rs 989,000 ex-showroom, India. While it is premature in the auto industry for a carmaker to be bringing any updates to a model as fresh as nine months old, Kia’s step can be assumed to have come in response to the launch of the Creta from Hyundai – its sister company giving it the home-grown competition, which starts at Rs 999,000 ex-showroom, India.
No. 5 Mahindra XUV300: 1,257 units
The XUV300, Mahindra’s second SUV in the Top 5 chart, takes fifth place with 1,257 units. Based on the SsangYong Tivoli’s X100 platform, which has been modified and altered to fit within the crucial sub-four-metre length, the XUV300 is still the widest compact SUV on sale and also has the longest wheelbase in its class.The XUV300, available in four variants – W4, W6, W8 and W8 (O) – is powered by a 1.5-litre diesel (117hp and 300 Nm torque) and a 1.2-litre turbo-petrol engine (110hp and 200 Nm). The Mahindra XUV300’s fuel-efficiency figure is pegged at 17kpl for the petrol variant and 20kpl for the diesel variant. Key rivals to the XUV300 include the Maruti Vitara Brezza, Tata Nexon, Ford EcoSport and Mahindra’s own TUV300 compact SUV.
The XUV300 is also the first Mahindra vehicle to become compliant with BS VI norms. On December 3, M&M launched the BS VI XUV 300 in 1.2-litre turbo-petrol guise.
In January 2020, the XUV300, which recently crossed sales of 40,000 units in the Indian market in 11 months, achieved a solid five-star crash test rating for adult occupant protection and four stars for child occupant protection from Global NCAP. With this result, the Mahindra XUV300 has the highest combined result in Global NCAP’s #SaferCarsForIndia crash tests to date with the highest score in both the adult and child protection categories.
Growth outlook for FY2021
If April 2020 was a washout due to the all-India lockdown, May was not hugely better either. June will be the first full month of sale and it remains to be seen if the counters have started clicking for OEMs. But the consumer mood in the country still remains despondent, what with several key automobile-buying centre still under lockdown and restricted people movement in place. Also, OEMs and dealers have taken to digital retailing as footfalls into showrooms are rather scarce when social distancing has become the new normal.
Demand will gradually return but most of it digitally. SUVs will continue to be a favourite and petrol-engined at that. Given the truncated month that May was for OEMs, you can be sure the Top 5 listing will change. While these five will continue to battle in the marketplace, they will be joined by some newcomers. Come festive season and Kia Motors India is slated to introduce the Sonet compact SUV, for which it has targeted 70,000 unit sales in year one. Then, there is the compact SUV from Nissan which is slated to be introduced around the festive season. The crossover will be built on the company's CMF-A platform. Reports from Autocar India also suggest that the Suzuki-Toyota partnership would see the introduction of a Vitara Brezza-based crossover with the Toyota nameplate later this year.
This year, both calendar and fiscal, is set to see difficult times what with the impact of coronavirus, dampened economic sentiment and what could be a marked shift in consumer preference to the Internet as against visiting showrooms in a time of social distancing. All in all, difficult days for India Auto Inc but the spell that SUVs cast over the Indian consumer is not going to die out very soon.
These were the UVs which clocked four-figure sales. The Hyundai Venue, with 1,242 units, missed the fifth spot by 15 units.
The ones with three-figure sales in May 2020 were:
Renault Triber: 931
Toyota Innova Crysta: 759
Mahindra Scorpio: 713
Maruti XL6: 711
MG Hector: 672
Tata Nexon: 623
Maruti Vitara Brezza: 572
Ford EcoSport: 331
Toyota Fortuner: 267
Tata Harrier: 161
Renault Duster: 138
Honda WR-V: 114
Skoda Kodiaq: 112
Also read: Top 5 UVs in FY2020 | Maruti Vitara Brezza holds onto its crown, demand surges for Venue, Ertiga and Seltos