India now an SUV market, sales outstrip hatches plus sedans


NEW DELHI: It’s official: India is no longer a small car market and the country is in love with SUVs. More than half of the passenger vehicles sold in September, as well as in the July-September quarter, were SUVs that commanded more volumes than the cumulative power of hatchbacks and sedans.
The strong performance, perhaps for the first time in Indian automotive history, shows the growing fondness and craziness of Indian buyers for SUVs, which are available at all price points and brands and have one of the most popular lineups. strong in the broader automotive market. .
With sales of 87,720 units in September 2021, SUVs outnumbered the passenger car category, which comprises hatchbacks and sedans, by a long way, as the latter was only able to sell 64,235 units in the same month.

And the trend was equally strong during the second quarter of 2021-22: SUVs sold 3.67,457 units, while passenger cars totaled 3.43,939 units, according to data obtained by TOI from SIAM, the lobbyist for the industry.
So what is driving the trend? The drop in SUV prices in recent years, as companies embraced the body style even when it came to small cars (attracting lower GST rates), and the ever-expanding road and highway network are driving demand for vehicles that have better ground clearance and relatively modern and robust design cues.
Prices for mini SUVs like Nissan Magnite and Renault Kiger start at less than Rs 6 lakh, while the sub-Rs 10 lakh category has strong models like Maruti brezza, Kia Sonet, Hyundai Venue and Tata Nexon.
The rise doesn’t stop here: Popular models above Rs 10 lakh include Hyundai Creta, Kia Seltos, Mahindra Thar, and MG Hector. And the madness keeps getting stronger even when the prize is multiplied by several times or by several hundred thousand rupees: demand remains equally strong for luxury SUVs from Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi, Land Rover and even Lamborghinis and Porsche. . , many of which are priced over Rs 1 million and are even out of stock.
While car puritans remain critical of the popularity of small, low-powered SUVs as they lack traditional “go-anywhere heavy off-road” features such as 4X4, water-wading ability, high torque and traction control, others don’t. I agree very much with the argument.
“What matters most is the overall packaging. SUVs offer the best value for money in terms of style quotient, visibility, power and cabin space. They provide command and control on the road,” he says Ravi bhatia from the automotive research firm JATO.
Shashank Srivastava, director (marketing and sales) at Maruti Suzuki, says the trend is not limited to just India, but is more or less a global change. “The trend is worldwide. In fact, if you look at markets like China, the US and countries in Latin America and Europe, the share of SUVs is around 45% to 50% of the total sales. India had an initial delay, but it has been gaining rapidly, “says Srivastava.
He says the drop in SUV prices has meant they are now hunting down hatchback and sedan customers. “There is now a huge price overlap of SUVs with premium hatchbacks and premium sedans. Customers who never considered purchasing an SUV before are now looking at the vehicles as they are affordable in terms of pricing and options.”
Businesses have clearly read the trend and therefore most of the new releases are in the SUV category. Recently launched SUVs include Mahindra’s Thar and XUV7OO, Skoda Kushaq, VW Taigun, MG Astor, Hyundai Alcazar, and luxury like Audi eTron series and Mercedes GLS Maybach.
Recently, Anand Mahindra was excited on social media when his company’s new launch, XUV7OO, achieved a mega 50,000 bookings, worth Rs 10,000 crore, in just two rounds of sale. “The enthusiasm of the customers is amazing,” says Mahindra.
The “coming soon” list remains equally strong with models like the one from Tata Motors. PunchNew generation, Q5, Q3 and Q7 from Audi, localized C3 from Citroën and luxury electric Model3 from Tesla and XC40 Recharge from Volvo.
Martin Schwenk, CEO and CEO of Mercedes-Benz India, says the lawsuit has been phenomenal. “Our SUV portfolio has seen unprecedented demand and has been on longer waiting lists … The SUV portfolio is on the waiting list in all markets, while the waiting list for the GLS extends to six months, underscoring the growing penchant for luxury SUVs. ”
Hyundai, now the leader in the Indian SUV category, says that an SUV fulfills the customer’s desire for a vehicle that offers a variety of features including safety, comfort, technology and performance. “As the trend of segmented lockdowns and work from home has prevailed, clients are also looking to break the monotony with leisure trips and getaways, fulfilling the desire for an SUV.”

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