* Now updated with the Top 80 models and Top 20 brands – click on title to see *
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.
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.
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 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.
One year ago: India March 2015: Hyundai Elite i20 breaks volume record
Full March 2016 Top 20 brands and Top 10 models below.