India May 2016: Innova up, Kwid down, Datsun RediGo lands

Toyota Innova Crysta India May 2016. Picture courtesy quikr.comThe new Innova Crysta lifts Toyota to 4th place overall.

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The Indian new car market is up a hot 7.5% year-on-year in May to 229.367 registrations, lifting the year-to-date total up 7.6% to 1.188.119 units. The Top 4 brands all beat the market, resulting in a consolidation atop the ranking: leader Maruti is up 11% to 113.162 sales and a mammoth 49.3% share vs. 47.4% year-to-date, Hyundai is up 10% to 18% she and Mahindra is up 14% to 8% of the market. Toyota gains three spots on April and its year-to-date ranking to land at #4 with 12.614 deliveries (+10%), mainly due to the success of the new generation Innova Crysta, up 44% on the previous model a year ago. Honda freefalls at -26% as the all-new BR-V up 21 spots to #29 cannot compensate the crumbling down of its bread-and-butter City (-56%) and Amaze (-62%). Similarly, Tata (-23%) is now relying on the Tiago for 38% of its total sales now that the Indica (-72%) and Manza (-71%) have all but disappeared and the Nano (-37%), Zest (-17%) and Bolt (-17%) are getting even more discreet by the minute.

Renault Kwid India May 2016. Picture courtesy motorbeam.comSurprisingly low score for the Renault Kwid this month. 

But the surprise comes from Renault, brilliantly up to #4 in April but back down to #7 with 3.6% share this month – still up 132% year-on-year however. The reason: the Kwid drops 43% on April from 9.795 to just 5.600 units. This goes against what the order books and the ramping up of the production would have let us to believe, but Renault advances factory maintenance and parts disruption as a justification. The French carmaker is the new kid on the block in India and cannot afford to lose the ground it has gained so fast in the past twelve months: Maruti and its Alto are already starting to breathe a sigh of relief at -12% vs. -23% last month… Ford (+22%) and Datsun (+37%) are the only two other mainstream brands to gain ground year-on-year.

Datsun Redi-GOThe Datsun RediGo has landed in India. 

Back to the Alto falling below 20.000 monthly sales but remains on top above the DZire (-14%) and Wagon R (+6%) while the Swift skids down 28% due to increased cannibalisation from the Baleno, hitting its best ranking so far this year at #7. The Hyundai Grand i10 posts its strongest volume of the year: up a splendid 19% to 12.055 with the Elite i20 close behind a 10.472 (+1%). The Maruti Vitara Brezza breaks into the overall Top 10 for the first time to remain the most popular SUV in India, but just, at 7.193 sales, the Hyundai Creta (7.057) is breathing on its neck while the Mahindra KUV100 confirms it is an instant blockbuster at #3 in the SUV placing (4.446). The Maruti Ciaz is segment leader by far at #15 with 5.188 sales vs. just 3.305 for the Honda City. Finally, we welcome the Datsun RediGo at #56 with 576 sales. Although aimed at the Maruti Alto and Renault Kwid, it will struggle to reach the same heights based on the poor performances of the GO and GO+ before it.

Previous month: India April 2016: Leader Alto down 23%, hit by Kwid?

One year ago: India May 2015: Maruti Alto up 31%, Lodgy Renault’s best-seller again

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India April 2016: Leader Alto down 23%, hit by Kwid?

Renault-Kwid-Vs-Alto India April 2016. Picture courtesy gaadiIs the Renault Kwid responsible for the Maruti Alto’s 23% drop this month?

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The Indian light vehicle market is enjoying a speedy recovery this year with April volumes up 12% to 241.720 units, lifting the year-to-date total to 958.752, up 7% on the same period in 2015. Gains have been restricted to the cities though, with the countryside still lagging behind according to local publication Autocarpro.co.in. The big news this month is the 23% drop of the Maruti Alto to just 16.583 sales, its lowest monthly score in almost three years (since May 2013). Two theories on this drop: either Maruti is slowing down production in preparation for the facelifted version coming up shortly, or its direct competitor and recently launched the Renault Kwid (another record 9.795 sales this month) has hit it at its core. Given vehicle sales in India are ex-factory deliveries to dealerships, the latter option is well within the realm of possibles: dealers are now reacting to a possible Alto weakness by ordering less.

156372The Renault Kwid has eaten into Maruti Alto sales since its launch last September. 

Impressively, the Alto drop as well as those of the Swift (-15%) and DZire (-28%) do not affect Maruti’s results in the least: the manufacturer even beats the market with sales up 16% to 117.045 for a mammoth 48.4% market share vs. 47% so far in 2016. This is the result of very strong performances by two nameplates launched in the past year: the Baleno is up 3 spots on March to #8 with 9.562 sales and, most interestingly, the Vitara Brezza launched last month is up to an excellent #12 with 7.832 units, missing out on the “#1 SUV in India” title by a mere 68 units to the Hyundai Creta (7.900). On top of it, the Wagon R resists well (+10%), the antediluvian Omni is up 28% in 10th place and the Ciaz up 22% to 5.702 sales, threatening the Honda City, segment leader at 5.793 units (-29%).

Maruti Vitara Brezza India April 2016. Picture courtesy gaadiwaadi.com2nd month on sale and just missing out on the #1 SUV in India title: the Maruti Vitara Brezza. 

Hyundai (+10%) improves slightly slower than the market but still manages a strong 17.5% share vs. 16.9% year-to-date while Mahindra is up 22% in third position to 21.108 units and 8.7% thanks to the success of its new range of small SUVs: the KUV100 up to #19 with 5.097 sales, the TUV300 ranks #31 with 1.928 but the NuvoSport is down a worrying 13 spots for its 2nd month in market at #54 with 553 sales. The Bolero suffers though: it is down 34% and longer the best-selling SUV in the country, a title that now goes to the Hyundai Creta for now.

Ford Endeavour India April 2016. Picture courtesy motortrend.inThe Ford Endeavour outsells the Toyota Fortuner to lead its segment.

Taking advantage of a particularly weak month by Honda down 17% to #6 despite the arrival of the BR-V (#50), Renault signs a fantastic 4th place overall with 12.426 sales, more than triple its April 2015 volume (+211%) and the brand’s new monthly record, beating its March result by two units. One culprit: the Kwid. It is now time for Renault to crank up its production again to see whether it can truly threaten the reign of the Maruti Alto, which would be an incredible performance for the French manufacturer. In 5th position, Tata is up just 3% as its much-anticipated (and -needed) Tiago is back in the charts at #24 with 3.022 sales. This is still meagre in a segment where it would need to reach at last 8.000 monthly units to play with the big boys. Notice also Mercedes up 16% and Ford up 37% thanks to the Aspire (#40) and Endeavour up 11 spots on March to #51 and now segment leader above the Toyota Fortuner (-69%).

Previous month: India March 2016: Renault Kwid officially a hit, breaks into Top 5

One year ago: India April 2015: Renault Lodgy lands with 2.032 sales

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India March 2016: Renault Kwid officially a hit, breaks into Top 5

Renault Kwid India March 2016Officially a blockbuster: the Renault Kwid

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The Indian new vehicle market is in good shape in March, the last month of the local financial year, with sales up 7% year-on-year 252.445 units – also lifting the 1st quarter total up 7% to 717.032 sales. Maruti brilliantly beats the market with volumes up 15% to 118.895 and 47.1% share, distancing Hyundai at 16.3% (+4%) and Mahindra at 9.3% (+16%). Honda (-23%), Tata (-44%) and Toyota (-43%) all drown, whereas Ford (+44%) shines but once again the hero of the month is French manufacturer Renault which sees sales almost triple year-on-year (+160%) to an all-time record 12.424 units and 4.9% share, earning it a sparkling 5th place overall in the brands ranking. All this thanks to the sales hit of 2016 so far: the Renault Kwid.

Maruti Alto 800 Renault Kwid Hyundai Eon India March 2016. Picture courtesy motorbeam.comBattle for ultra low-cost supremacy: can the Kwid tease the Alto?

As predicted last month, the Kwid surges 29% on its February score to hit 9.743 sales now that its monthly production rate has been increased to 10.000 units. The Kwid beats all Hyundais to become the best-selling non-Maruti nameplate in India – officially crowing it as a blockbuster – and has now sold 41.205 units since its launch just six months ago. Note the final ranking places it at #6 but Hyundai i20 (1.934) and Elite i20 (8.713) sales are combined. The Kwid beats the Elite i20 alone. At this rate, the Kwid should hit 100.000 sales within 12 months of launch by September 2016, a historical milestone for Renault which is still a very young brand in India. From a tiny 1.406 units in 2011, Renault went on to sell 35.157 cars in India in 2012, 64.368 in 2013 thanks to the success of the Duster, 44.793 in 2014 and 53.418 in 2015. Led by Carlos Ghosn, the company has managed to leverage learnings stemming from a decade of low-cost manufacturing through the “entry range” sold under the Dacia brand in Europe and northern Africa, but also learn from partner company Nissan’s Datsun debacle in India to finally crack the ultra low-cost equation.

2-1Maruti sales and market share – past 15 years. Source: autopunditz.com 

Maruti Vitara Brezza India March 2016. Picture courtesy motoroids.comFirst month of sales for the Maruti Vitara Brezza, landing directly at #15.

As usual, Maruti has a tight grip on the rest of the Top 10 best-selling models, monopolising the Top 4 with the Alto (-11%), DZire (-1%), Wagon R (-4%) and Swift (-13%) but also adding the Celerio (+75%) and Omni (+9%) with the all-new Baleno lurking at #11 with a solid 6.236 sales. But wait there’s more: March sees the launch of the much anticipated Vitara Brezza – a shorter version of the Vitara sold worldwide – landing directly at an outstanding 15th place with 5.563 units sold. This places the Brezza already at #3 in the Indian SUV ranking below the Hyundai Creta (8.163) and Mahindra Bolero (6.211).

Mahindra NuvoSport India March 2016Mahindra launches its third small SUV in 7 months: the NuvoSport. 

Mahindra can’t stop churning out new SUVs: after the TUV300 last September (#27 this month) and the KUV100 last January (#20 in March), we now welcome the NuvoSport, yet another mini-crossover with polarising design. The NuvoSport lands at #41 with 1.298 sales in March. With a lot resting on its shoulders, the Tata Tiago cannot afford a flop. Yet it looks like we are headed this way again, which would make it three flops in a row for Tata after the bolted launches of the Bolt (#50) and Zest (#33). The Tiago disappears from the ranking with zero sales this month. Keep in mind Indian sales are wholesale figures (ex-factory), so this means Tata dealers didn’t order any more Tiago in March after getting just over 1.000 in February.

Previous month: India February 2016: Renault Kwid hits #8 overall, Tata Tiago lands

One year ago: India March 2015: Hyundai Elite i20 breaks volume record

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India February 2016: Renault Kwid hits #8 overall, Tata Tiago lands

Renault Kwid India February 2016. Picture courtesy motoroids.comThe Renault Kwid crosses the 7.500 monthly sales in February.

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Timid growth for new car sales in India in February: up 2.5% year-on-year to 233.335 registrations, meaning the year-to-date total after two months is up 6.5% to 464.587 units. Maruti-Suzuki shaves off scraps of market share with stable sales to 108.115 delivers and 46.3% share, towering above Hyundai up 9% to 17.4% while Mahindra benefits from the recent launches of the KUV100 and TUV300 with sales up 28% to 22.275 and 9.5% share. Honda (-23%), Tata (-20%) and Toyota (-13%) crumble down whereas Renault shoots up 158% to 7th place and 8.834 sales.

Tata Tiago India February 2016. Picture courtesy gaadi.comTata Tiago. Picture Gaadi.com

Once again the big story in the models ranking is the gearing up of the Renault Kwid, hitting a new ranking record at #8 and a new delivery high at 7.544 sales now that the production has been increased to 8.000 units/month to be further boosted to 10.000 in March. Local analysts are unanimous: the Kwid should hit 10.000 sales in the coming months. This is shaping up to be an outstanding success in India for the French manufacturer that may well have cracked the ultra low-cost equation. The Maruti Alto (-17%) seems affected while the Hyundai Eon (-23%) is beaten. For comparison in a very difficult segment, the Datsun GO never managed more than 2.690 monthly sales (April 2014) and the Tata Nano peaked at 10.475 units in March 2012 but hasn’t delivered a 5.000+ sales month in over 3 years.

Mahindra KUV100 India February 2016. Picture courtesy autocarindia.comThe Mahindra KUV100 is now among India’s 20 best-selling nameplates. 

Hyundai maintains its best-sellers at very high levels, placing three nameplates in the Top 7: the Elite i20 (-1%), Grand i10 (+2%) and Creta, beating its monthly sales record at 8.196 units. The Maruti Baleno (6.888 sales) is kicked outside the Top 10 at #11 but remains strong, the Maruti Ciaz (-5%) takes the lead of its segment above the Honda City (-25%), the Mahindra KUV100 breaks into the Top 20 for its 2nd month of sales at 4.486 units, the Maruti S-Cross stabilises around 2.500 sales (#27) and the Datsun GO gets a 2nd wind with sales up 98% to 1.414 (#35). After rushing to rename the car from Zica due to the Brazilian virus outbreak, Tata places the Tiago at #41 with 1.096 units for its appearance in the Indian charts. The next few month will tell whether this tiny vehicle can revive Tata’s hopes after the brutal flops of the Nano, Bolt and Zest.

Previous month: India January 2016: Mahindra hits the mark with the KUV100

One year ago: India February 2015: Maruti Alto and Hyundai Elite i20 strong

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India January 2016: Mahindra hits the mark with the KUV100

Mahindra KUV100 India January 2016. Picture courtesy zigwheels.comMahindra KUV100. Picture zigwheels.com

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After gaining a robust 9% in 2015, the Indian new car market starts 2016 virtually immobile (+0.2%) at 231.252 registrations. Maruti gains 1% to a mammoth 46% market share, followed by Hyundai up 9% to 16.4%. In third position, Mahindra is up a stunning 15% to 20.693 units and 8.9% share, thanks to two successful crossover launches in the past few months: the TUV300 maintains itself inside the Top 20 for the 2nd time running, and the KUV100 lands directly at #23 with 3.413 units for its maiden appearance in the Indian sales charts. The Bolero (-29%), XUV500 (-24%) and Scorpio (-20%) are hit but lose less sales than these new entrants bring. Honda (-6%), Tata (-18%) and Toyota (-33%) on the other hand lose significant ground.

Renault Kwid Suzuki Alto India January 2016. Picture auto.ndtv.comThe Renault Kwid is not threatening the Maruti Alto for 1st place just yet, but is headed to Brazil.

Up 151% in 8th place we find French manufacturer Renault with 8.031 sales, 5.985 of which come from the Kwid (#13). Indian sales data are ex-factory deliveries to dealers and these seem to have plateau’ed for the Kwid, despite the 6 month-waiting time and reported 100.000 orders. The situation should change in the next few months though. Renault India CEO Sumit Sawhney recently told India Today Kwid production at its factory in Oragadam near Chennai will increase to 8.000 units/month in February and 10.000 in March. But these won’t all be for India, and may not impact the Kwid’s ranking here. The French carmaker will start exporting the Kwid as SKDs (semi-knocked down units) to Brazil in March… Renault reported they already received 100.000 bookings in Brazil since the announcement. More on this here. A one-litre engine capacity and automatic variants were unveiled at the Delhi Auto Expo last week. Renault is confident it will hit 100.000 sales in India in 2016.

Ford Endeavour India January 2016. Picture courtesy zigwheels.comFord Endeavour. Picture zigwheels.com

Further down the ranking, the Ford Endeavour (aka Everest) reappears in the Indian ranking thanks to the new generation at #56 with 480 sales, already putting a dent in the sales of its nemesis: the Toyota Fortuner, down 46% to 825 units. The Fiat Abarth Punto goes completely unnoticed at #99 with 17 deliveries. Finally, the Tata Zica should have made its grand entrance in the Indian sales charts this month, however the Indian manufacturer had to postpone is launch while it is securing a new name from the model in the wake of the spreading epidemy of the Zika virus in Brazil…

Previous post: India Full Year 2015: Maruti tightens grip on record market

Previous month: India December 2015: Kwid in Top 10, lifts Renault to record month

One year ago: India January 2015: Hyundai Elite i20 back in Top 5, Tata Bolt in Top 30

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India Full Year 2015: Maruti tightens grip on record market

Hyundai Elite i20 India November 2014. Picture courtesy of zeegnition.comThe Hyundai Elite i20 redefines the ‘premium’ segment in India. Picture zeegnition.com

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The Indian new car market flies off to an all-time record year in 2015 at 2.771.617 registrations, up 9% on 2014 and beating the previous all-time best of 2.65 million units in 2012. Note these figures dosn’t include LCV sales. Local behemoth Maruti Suzuki is far from succumbing to the constant afflux of new brands and models coming into the booming Indian market, and is actually tightening its grip thanks to a growing offer tailored very precisely to the unique needs of the Indian customer. Maruti goes from 43.1% share of its home market in 2013 to 45.2% in 2014 and 46.5% this year, now seriously flirting with a mind-blowing 50% overall market share – a milestone it crossed for the first time in July.

Maruti Baleno India 2015. Picture courtesy autocarindia.comMaruti Baleno. Picture autocarindia.com

For the fourth consecutive year the 4 best-selling nameplates in India are Marutis: Alto (+3%), DZire (+12%), Swift (+2%) and Wagon R (+7%), the latter 3 all breaking their all-time annual volume records. But the real source of optimism comes from recent launches delivering very solid results: the Celerio is now a regular Top 10 seller, up 23% to #8 this year, the Ciaz has found its way to #16 for its first full year in a difficult segment, but the most promising of all is the Baleno distributed exclusively in Maruti Suzuki’s new premium Nexa dealership network and achieving 23.875 deliveries in just 3 months, including a stunning 10.275 in December- albeit partly at the expense of the Swift.

Hyundai Creta India 2015. Picture courtesy motorbeam.comThe Creta boosted Hyundai to a string of monthly volume records. Picture motorbeam.com

It has been a breakthrough year for Hyundai in India: the Korean manufacturer sold over 40.000 monthly units for the first time ever in August, and remained at that level through to the end of the year, establishing a new monthly volume record at 47.015 in October and naturally a new annual volume record at 476.001 units, up 16% on 2014. Hyundai will be above the half-million mark in 2016, a very impressive achievement. This means Maruti and Hyundai hold a combined 63.7% share of the Indian market in 2015: almost 2 in every 3 cars sold in the country! Hyundai’s performance stems from excellent scores by the Elite i20 up 88% to 5th place overall for its first full year in market, the Grand i10 up 20% to #6 and the Creta SUV – the most popular new entrant in 2015 at #20 with 40.952 sales, peaking at #8 from August to October.

Renault Kwid India 2015. Picture courtesy motorbeam.comThe Kwid could lift Renault to #5 in 2016. Picture motorbeam.com

Mahindra drops 1% but remains in third place overall, under intense pressure from Honda (+13%) bolstered by the City (#9) and a very successful relaunch of the Jazz nameplate (#25). Tata (+10%) edges past Toyota (+5%) for 5th place but the all-new Zest (#27) and Bolt (#43) have been the biggest disappointments of 2015. In December Renault entered the race for 5th place, delivering its first-ever 5-digit monthly score (10.292) thanks to a very impressive start for the Kwid (80.000 bookings). The French carmaker will top 100.000 annual units in 2016 and could tease both Tata and Toyota. Chevrolet (-37%) and Nissan (-41%) crumble down, and if Datsun is up 45% it’s mainly due to the addition of the GO+ which delivered lukewarm results. Mercedes (+33%) reclaims the luxury crown off Audi.

Previous post: India December 2015: Kwid in Top 10, lifts Renault to record month

Previous year: India Full Year 2014: Datsun GO underwhelms in market back up

Two years ago: India Full Year 2013: Maruti Alto #1, Swift, DZire and Wagon R break records

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India December 2015: Kwid in Top 10, lifts Renault to record month

Renault Kwid India December 2015. Picture courtesy youtube.comThe Renault Kwid is now among India’s Top 10 nameplates. 

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The Indian new car market ends 2015 on a solid note: up 11% year-on-year in December to 230.930 registrations, lifting the annual result up 7% on 2014 to a record 2.723.362 units. Brand-wise, Maruti remains ultra-dominant, even outpacing the market at +13% to 111.333 sales and 48.2% share. Hyundai continues to take off: up a stunning 29% to post a fourth consecutive month above 40.000 sales at 41.861 whereas the Korean manufacturer had never crossed that milestone before last September. Ford is up 58% and Datsun up 141% to a still meagre 1.699 sales but the Indian elephant in the room this month in India is the staggering performance of Renault: up 160% year-on-year to lodge a 5-digit sales figure for the first time in its Indian history at 10.292 deliveries and 4.5% share, earning a record 6th spot overall just below Toyota (10.446) and smashing its previous Indian best of 8.232 sales in March 2013.

Renault Kwid India December 2015. Picture courtesy gaadi.comRenault can aim at 100.000 Kwid sold in 2016, if production can be ramped up. 

One model behind Renault’s performance: the ultra low-cost Kwid. Up 26% on October, the Kwid sells 6.888 units this month to historically break into the Top 10. That’s the highest ever monthly volume by a Renault in India, beating the 6.313 units of the Duster in March 2013. For reference, the Datsun GO never managed more than 2.690 monthly sales (April 2014), the Tata Nano peaked at 10.475 units in March 2012 but hasn’t delivered a 5.000+ sales month in over 3 years and the Kwid now outsells one of its direct competitors, the Hyundai Eon (6.563). Renault reports more than 80.000 bookings and a 6 month-waiting list, a production ramp up is in the cards and the price of all variants was recently increased, now from Rs. 260k (3.600€/US$3.900) to Rs. 364k (5.000€/US$5.500) vs. Rs. 257k-353k at launch. The French carmaker is definitely onto something extremely interesting with the Kwid which will, if the sales curve continues this way, have a worldwide impact on its access range.

Maruti Baleno India December 2015. Picture courtesy motorbeam.comAlready 10.572 sales for the Maruti Baleno in December. Picture motorbeam.com

In other model news, the Maruti Baleno brilliantly cracks the 10.000 monthly unit-mark for its third month in market at 10.572 sales, climbing to 6th place and already topping its category above the Hyundai Elite i20 (10.379). The Maruti Swift suffers as a result (-19%) and remains 4th, leaving the third spot to the Maruti Wagon R (+19%). Excellent showings of the Hyundai Grand i10 (+55%), Maruti Celerio (+65%) and Hyundai Xcent (+41%). The Hyundai Creta already loses steam at 4.709 sales and #16 vs. 7.437 and #8 in August, the Mahindra TUV300 is back inside the Top 20, becoming the brand’s 2nd best-seller below the Bolero (-27%), the new look Ford Figo stays inside the Top 30 and the Mercedes C-Class tops luxury vehicles at #54.

Previous month: India November 2015: Maruti Baleno strong, cannibalises Swift

One year ago: India December 2014: Tata Bolt and Datsun GO+ land

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India November 2015: Maruti Baleno strong, cannibalises Swift

Maruti Baleno India November 2015. Picture courtesy motortrend.inMaruti Suzuki Baleno. Picture motortrend.in

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Another very encouraging month for new car sales in India: up 12% year-on-year to 233.544 registrations excluding commercial vehicles and luxury brands. This lifts the year-to-date total up 8% to 2.492.432 deliveries. Local behemoth Maruti-Suzuki follows the market at +11% to 110.559 units while Hyundai continues on its euphoric run at +23% to 43.651 sales, the brand’s second highest monthly volume ever in India below October’s 47.015 figure. Mahindra benefits from minimal cannibalising within its range from the all-new TUV300 and delivers a very reassuring 39% jump to 18.355 units, staying well above Honda (-4%). Tata and Toyota struggle, while Ford (+55%) but most impressively Renault (+139%) post spectacular gains. At 7.819 units, the French manufacturer even lodges its 2nd best-ever monthly sales score in India below only the 8.232 from March 2013. All this thanks to the Kwid as we’ll see further down.

Maruti Baleno India November 2015. Picture courtesy zigwheels.comMaruti Baleno. Picture zigwheels.com

In the models ranking, the Maruti Alto reclaims the pole position it holds year-to-date off the Maruti DZire despite sales down 9% year-on-year to 21.995 vs. 18.826 (+34%) for the sedan. The big event occurring before our eyes is the stepping up of the Maruti Baleno, distributed exclusively in Maruti Suzuki’s new premium Nexa dealership network, going from 4.229 units for its initial month in October to a stunning 9.074 in November, allowing it to enter well within the Indian Top 10 at #7. The Baleno is thus already teasing the segment leader, the Hyundai Elite i20 down 5% to 10.074 sales. This is a very impressive performance for a nameplate that is only available in 75 showrooms around the country. Problem is, the Baleno is competing full frontal with the Swift, with the latter already losing 34% yoy to 11.859 units, now outsold by the Hyundai Grand i10 accessing to #4 for only the 2nd time ever after April 2014.

Maruti Baleno Hyundai Elite i20 India November 2015. Picture courtesy ndtv.comHyundai Elite i20 and Maruti Baleno. Picture auto.ndtv.com

Hyundai is repurposing the Eon as a Kwid-fighter, and it’s working so far: after dropping double-digits for 4 of the past 5 months, the Eon is up 8% year-on-year and 6 spots on October to #8. The Maruti Celerio is also in great shape at +41% to #9. Meanwhile the Renault Kwid continues to progress: from 5.195 sales in October to 5.469 this month (#17), edging closer to the Duster record of 6.313 units dating from March 2013. All other recent launches are taking a breather this month: the Hyundai Creta is down 19% on October, the Mahindra TUV300 is down 15%, the Honda Jazz down 25%, Ford Figo down 21%, Ford Aspire down 22% and Maruti S-Cross down 26%. Next month the ranking may be affected by the Chennai floods that have disrupted the assembly plants present in the sector for manufacturers such as Renault and Hyundai.

Previous month: India October 2015: Renault Kwid above 5.000 sales in market up 25%

One year ago: India November 2014: Hyundai i20 Elite above 10,000 sales

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India October 2015: Renault Kwid above 5.000 sales in market up 25%

Renault Kwid Maruti Alto K10 India October 2015. Picture courtesy gaadiwaadi.comThe Renault Kwid breaks into the Indian Top 20 this month. Can it tease the Maruti Alto?

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Finally a strong month for new car sales in India, just in time for the Diwali festival, traditionally an auspicious season for car purchases in the country. The market is up a flamboyant 25% year-on-year in October to 264.712 deliveries excluding commercial vehicles and luxury brands. This is the largest year-on-year gain in exactly three years. Both market leaders post their all-time highest monthly volume: Maruti Suzuki is up 25% to 121.063 sales while Hyundai brilliantly breaks its monthly sales record for the third consecutive month, up 24% to 47.015 units vs. 42.505 in September and 40.505 in August. Mahindra falls behind the market at +14% but remains above its year-to-date market share at 8.3% vs. 7.6%. Honda (+52%), Ford (+49%) and Renault (+97%) display outlandish gains while Volkswagen (-30%), Chevrolet (-33%), Nissan (-36%) and Fiat (-44%) all drop sharply.

Maruti DZire India October 2015The Maruti Suzuki DZire is the best-selling car in India in October.

The best-selling vehicle in India this month and for the third time this year is the Maruti Suzuki DZire (a Swift sedan) thanks to sales up a stunning 37% year-on-year to 24.502, a new personal best beating the 23.086 units of last July. It is the 6th time the DZire ever leads the Indian sales charts after May 2013May 2014July 2014June 2015 and July 2015. The Maruti Alto, traditional leader in India for the past decade, is relegated to 2nd place at 22.861 units (+7%) while the Maruti Swift takes its habitual third spot at +48% above the Maruti Wagon R ever faithful to solid figures at 14.734 units. In 5th place, the Hyundai Grand i10 crosses the 14.000 monthly units milestone for the first time ever, up 68% year-on-year to 14.079. The Hyundai i20 Elite (+24%) and Creta –  settling in above 7.000 monthly sales – also impress, while the Honda City (+37%), Amaze (+81%) and Maruti Eeco (+57%) post particularly strong year-on-year improvements.

Mahindra TUV300 India October 2015. Picture courtesy dnaindia.comMahindra TUV300

But where the excitement resides in India right now is in the recent launches aisle. Renault has been hyping the unveiling of the ultra-low cost Kwid, starting at just Rs. 257.000 (3.500€ / US$4.000), and announced over 25.000 orders last month. The numbers are now coming in and they are good: 5.195 units place the Kwid at #18 overall, to be compared with 6.479 for the Hyundai Eon (-7%), 2.300 for the Tata Nano – a notable flop in the same segment – and 1.675 for the ageing Hyundai i10 (-47%). Is the Kwid responsible for the fall of grace of the Alto this month? It’s difficult to say at this stage but we will monitor the Alto closely over the next couple of months to determine whether there indeed is a “Kwid effect”.

This is a very unpredictable segment where brand image plays a very important part in the buyer’s purchase decision, making Indian consumers unique in that regard for such low-priced vehicles. By focusing on the brand’s “iconic” status worldwide, Renault has managed to make the Kwid desirable at launch. This month’s 5.195 sales figure for the Kwid is already coming close to Renault’s record monthly volume in India for a single nameplate (the Duster at 6.313 in March 2013) and is almost double the highest monthly volume ever achieved by the Datsun GO (2.690 in April 2014), the latest attempt by Carlos Ghosn at cracking the ultra-low cost market in India. The Tata Nano for its part peaked at 10.475 units in March 2012 and hasn’t delivered a 5.000+ sales month since September 2012… So the Kwid is on the right track for now, however we will need to wait until the start of 2016 to get the real picture, as dealers start to renew their stock. Keep in mind sales figures published monthly for India are sales to dealerships, not end-consumers.

Ford Figo India October 2015. Picture courtesy motoroctane.comFord Figo

Another very important launch this month in India is the Maruti Baleno, distributed exclusively in Maruti Suzuki’s new premium Nexa dealership network that counts 60 showrooms for now and should extend to 100 by the end of the year. The Baleno is the second nameplate to be reserved for the Nexa network after the S-Cross that is about to fall outside the Top 30. 4.229 Baleno were delivered to dealers for its first month which is a reasonable score, however it seems like an odd decision to constraint the sales capacity of the Baleno this way as it is not exactly a premium car. Some local analysts see a 12.000 monthly sales potential for the model, a level that cannot possibly be achieved solely through the Nexa network. Other recent launches putting a smile on their manufacturers’ face are the Mahindra TUV300 improving to 4.551 sales and limiting its cannibalisation of the Bolero (-15%) and Scorpio (-7%), and the new Ford Figo up 107% over the old model at #25 and 3.534 sales while its sedan varian the Ford Aspire is stabilising around 3.000 units after an initial launch at 5.176 in August.

Previous month: India September 2015: Hyundai breaks record again, Renault Kwid lands

One year ago: India October 2014: Maruti Ciaz takes off to Top 10

Full October 2015 Top 15 brands and Top 70 models below.

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India September 2015: Hyundai breaks record again, Renault Kwid lands

Renault Kwid India September 2015. Picture courtesy zigwheels.comCan the Renault Kwid succeed where the Tata Nano and Datsun GO failed?

* See the Top 15 best-selling brands and Top 60 models by clicking on the title *

Despite low fuel prices and declining interest rates, the Indian auto industry is not getting the boost most analysts including myself were expecting. Sales are up a shy 5% year-on-year in September to 228.715 units, and given these are sales to dealers not end-sales to consumers, this means car salesmen across the country are not anticipating very strong business during the upcoming festive season which is traditionally the strongest period of the year in India. Year-to-date, the total amounts to 1.994.176 units, up 6% on 2014. Market behemoth Maruti follows the market at +7% and 46.4% share, placing four models in the Top 4 as usual: the Alto (+4%) outpaces the DZire (+8%), Swift (+6%) and Wagon R (-5%) but the Celerio is the most impressive at +39% to break its all-time monthly volume record at 8.901 deliveries (previous best was 8.078 last June). Notice also the newly launched S-Cross at #21 with a solid 3.603 sales.

Mahindra TUV300 India September 2015. Picture courtesy haymarketindia.netThe Mahindra TUV300 also launches this month in India.

The best brand performance of the month goes once again to Korean manufacturer Hyundai, breaking its all-time Indian monthly volume record for the 2nd time in a row at 42.505 (+21%) after eclipsing the 40.000 monthly unit-milestone for the very first time last month (40.505). This performance has a lot to do with the tremendous success of the Creta (aka ix25), holding very strong in 8th position with 7.320 units. However the Elite i20 (+31%) and Grand i10 (+54%) also post extremely strong performances this month, both inside the Top 6. Honda jumps 23% to stay above Mahindra in third place, thanks to the Amaze at #10 (71%), the City at #11 (+24%) and the Jazz holding strong at #15. Ford is up 22% thanks to the Inspire at #22, while Chevrolet (-42%), Fiat (-46%), Renault (-50%) and Nissan (-59%) implode.

Hyundai Creta India September 2015. Picture courtesy motorbeam.comThe Creta is taking Hyundai to new heights in India.

Two newcomers make their entrance in the Indian sales charts this month. The Mahindra TUV300 lands directly inside the Top 20 at #18 with 4.313 sales, a very strong start for the MPV (or is it a boxy SUV?) but it doesn’t allow Mahindra to grow sales year-on-year (-5%) which is worrying. Indeed the Bolero (-35%) and Scorpio (-29%) are hit full frontal by the TUV300 while the XUV500 remains at modest levels at #25 and just above 3.000 units. The most intriguing new arrival is by all means the Renault Kwid. This is the first ultra-low cost offer by the French manufacturer, a risky but potentially very lucrative business in India. Tata failed miserably in this domain with the Nano and more recently Datsun didn’t do much better with the Go as I detailed in my repots India Full Year 2014: Datsun Go underwhelms and India July 2014: Is the Datsun Go a flop?.

Some car magazines have already pitted the Kwid against the Maruti Alto, Hyundai Eos and i10, some of the most affordable options in the Indian market and it just so happens that both the Eos (-29%) and i10 (-30%) saw their sales drop significantly this month, pushing one publisher to already speak of a “Kwid effect”. Renault is already reporting over 25.000 orders for the Kwid which starts at just Rs. 257.000 (3.500€ / US$4.000). Could the Kwid be the key that foreign manufacturers have been looking for to unlock the elusive entry market in India? The response before the end of the year…

Previous month: India August 2015: Hyundai breaks record, Ford Aspire lands at #13

One year ago: India September 2014: Hyundai Elite i20 up to 5th place

Full September 2015 Top 15 brands and Top 60 models below.

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