The Indian car market had a clear hierarchy in terms of sales volumes. Hatchbacks stand at the top spot followed by sedans and the MUVs But the previous quarter ending June has revealed a marked difference in this hierarchy. MUVs have overtaken sedans to become the second best selling vehicles behind hatchbacks.
Many are not surprised by the sudden shift in the market. The MUV segment has been spurred on by the arrival of new models such as the XUV 500 and the the Maruti Suzuki Ertiga. The Toyota Innova continues to be a dominant force in the segment.
The XUV 500 has not only trumped other SUVs in terms of sales but has also outsold all the D-segment sedans in the same price bracket. Mahindra has reported 9,000 sales of the XUV 500 which retails between Rs.11 lakhs and Rs.15 lakhs in the April to June quarter. Sales of sedans such as the Toyota Corolla Altis, Chevrolet Cruze, Honda Civic and Skoda Laura put together are less than 6,500 units.
While the XUV 500 has trumped D-Segment sedans, Maruti Suzuki's Ertiga is out selling C-Segment sedans such as the Honda City, Hyundai Verna, Ford Fiesta and Volkswagen Vento. Maruti has sold more than 6,500 units of the Ertiga in the first month of its launch. Toyota has reported more than 20,000 sales of its best selling MPV Innova.
From the sales figures of the three vehicles do not indicate how they have eaten in to the sales of executive sedans., Sedans were the natural progression for a hatchback owner but the SUV has emerged as a more preferred car. SUVs offer a more space and practicality. Further, developments in refinement and handling make them as comfortable or even better than sedans.
The stark difference between the sales of SUVs against sedans is becoming more visible as we move upmarket. Sales of SUV in the Rs.20 lakhs to Rs.25 lakhs range is four times more than sedans in the same price range. Sales of sedans including the Honda Accord, Skoda Superb, Toyota Camry stood at 1,244 units in the past three months. Premium SUVs such as the Toyota Fortuner, Ford Endeavour and Chevrolet Captiva garnered 5,580 sales.
Multi utility vehicles (SUV + MPV) have seen the largest growth in recent months. Analysts opined this growth could be attributed to the Indian car market maturing and the arrival of new attractive models in the segment. The launch of the Renault Duster has also proved to be a hit. With more models such as the Ford EcoSport, mini Xylo, Ssangyong Rexton, Maruti Suzuki XA Alpha expected to be launched, the sector can be expected to grow at a much faster pace.
Industry experts are not surprised at the surge in MUV sales. They feel the market for these vehicles always existed but was curtailed by the lack of quality products. This has been rectified by the arrival of models such as the XUV 500 and the Maruti Suzuki Ertiga.