While utility vehicles (UVs) are the current favourite among all body styles in the passenger vehicle space both in India and globally, the trend of rising fuel prices over the last couple of months has had its impact on their sales, which have seen a slight moderation in their growth rate.
Where the UV segment was accelerating hard at a strong 20 percent growth rate until the end of FY2018, sales in May stood at 82,086 units, registering growth of 17.5 percent. Fuel prices have certainly shifted positive buyer sentiment back towards passenger cars.
Maruti’s Vitara Brezza continues to lead the pack of the top five UVs, selling 15,629 units (May 2017: 12,375). The popular crossover has been one of the growth drivers for the company’s UV market share, which today stands at over 28 percent, with cumulative sales of 46,433 units, clocked between April and May 2018.
After running tirelessly for two years, the Brezza has recently been given an update, with Maruti introducing the facelifted avatar of the model, bringing in some aesthetic tweaks, as well as giving it the option of an AMT and making safety kit as standard on-board. With aggressive competition from the likes of the Tata Nexon and the supremely equipped Ford EcoSport, this high-perched Maruti still holds high accord in the carmaker’s future growth strategy.
At No 2, the Hyundai Creta maintains its position in the tally, with sales clocking 11,004 units (May 2017: 8,377). Hyundai brought in the facelifted version of the Creta on May 21 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.
While buyers in Tier 1 cities might be reconsidering sedans over their crossover counterparts, the demand for rugged UVs hasn’t subdued in the rural markets. Clinching the No 3 position, the Mahindra Bolero jumps one spot and sold 8,126 units in May, up from the 6,832 units it had clocked in May 2017.
At No 4 is the Toyota Innova Crysta, which sold 6,071 units (May 2017: 5,643). The Innova Crysta, in its latest iteration, has become the synonym for passenger comfort and reliability in the people-mover space, with not only commercial fleet operators, but, even private buyers considering it for family use.
The welcome entry to the list is that of the Ford EcoSport, which has made its comeback in the Top 5 UVs list to secure the last spot in the tally and went home to 5,003 buyers.
After having updated the EcoSport in November 2017, more recently, Ford brought in a slew of new changes to the crossover, bringing in a sunroof, as well as the 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbocharged petrol motor for the enthusiasts in the EcoSport S variant.
The coming months should reveal if the UV sales momentum sustains or comes under pressure of high fuel prices. Stay tuned for regular updates.
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