The Maruti Suzuki Alto has been the undisputed best seller month after month since over five years. The only sign of competition came in the form of the Hyundai Eon late last year. The Hyundai Eon Vs Maruti Alto was a much discussed topic even before Hyundai had made an official announcement about its launch.
Hyundai launched the Eon during last year's festive season in October and the small hatchback showed it had the capacity to pose a challenge to the Alto on top of the heap with over 6,000 sales. The Alto was then registering more than 30,000 sales a month. So has the Hyundai Eon made a dent in the Alto's market share?
Its been nine months since the Eon was launched in India and it is possibly the best time to asses if Hyundai has been able to reach its goal. The Hyundai Eon was launched in the the festive season, a period when car sales are usually high, to gain maximum mileage. Maruti Suzuki was forced to launch a high spec variant within days to counter the more modern looking Eon.
The Eon carries Hyundai's fluidic design and it is definitely better looking car than the Alto. However looks are not the most important factor for Indian car buyers. The Eon's price of just under Rs.3 lakhs for the entry level variant meant it was still more expensive than the Alto. Moreover the Eon D-Lite is poorly equipped as it does not have air conditioning or power steering.
Buyers had to opt for the more expensive top ebd variants to have all the bells and whistles which clearly did not work in favour of the Eon. It is clear that Hyundai was trying to compete against the Alto K10 and not the standard Alto.
The petrol price hike that followed the Eon's launch also did not help matters. Sales of small cars started to slow down and even the Alto's sales went under 20,000 units per month for the first time in many years. Hyundai tried to push the Eon's sales by launching a new variant D-Lite + with more features than the D-Lite but it did not deliver expected results.
The Hyundai eon's image was dented by its comparatively higher price against the Alto. Hyundai could manage to sell more than 10,000 units per month only on two occasions. The 10,000 unit mark is considered the bare minimum for entry level cars.
The Hyundai Eon has failed to gather initial momentum and now faces a huge task of regaining lost ground. The challenge will become harder in the coming months once Maruti Suzuki launches its new 800cc car reportedly named as Alto 800. Reports say the new Alto 800 will be more expensive than the current Alto. This will provide some kind of parity ion terms of price between the Eon and Alto making the Hyundai Eon vs Maruti Alto battle more interesting.