* See the Top 17 All-brands and Top 45 All-models by clicking on the title *
New vehicle sales in India are back in frank positive territory in 1999, soaring 35% to a record 715.699 units. The Indian car landscape, somewhat immobile over the past 15 years, is now evolving at lightning speed mainly due to one new entrant: Hyundai. After launching the locally-produced Santro in September 1998, the Korean carmaker is climbing the Indian brands ladder quicker than any other brand in the past decade: up 624% in 1999 to land in 4th place for its first full year of sales. This is simply the best ranking ever reached by a foreign carmaker in India since our records began in 1985. Why did we start with the #4? Simply because it has impacted Maruti sales, up “only” 19% to see its share tumble down almost 7 percentage points to 52.3%. Tata on the other hand soars 50% to reclaim the #2 spot for the 2nd time in the past 3 year at 13.9% share. Mitsubishi (+602%), Fiat (+170%) and Daewoo (+169%) also make waves this year while Premier (-90%) almost disappear and Hindustan (-18%) takes a hit down 3 spots to #7. Pushed by Hyundai, foreign brands see their sales triple year-on-year to reach 133.000 units and 18.6% share vs. 8.3% in 1998.
Model-wise, the Maruti 800 celebrates 15 consecutive years as India’s favourite nameplate but sees its share thaw 3.5 percentage points to 27.1%, distancing the Maruti Zen (+23%) and Maruti Omnivan (+31%) in a podium unchanged on 1998 and 100% Maruti for the 2nd consecutive year and ever. The Hyundai Santro (+604%) confirms its thunderous arrival in the Indian charts in late 1998 with a first full year in market just below 60.000 units, a level never heard of before as far as foreign nameplates are concerned, even though the Santro is made in India. The second event this year is the arrival of the Tata Indica, unveiled on 30 December 1998, directly in 6th place with a little under 40.000 sales, a very impressive result for Tata’s very first foray into passenger cars after expanding from trucks to light commercials (407) and SUVs (Sumo). The Daewoo Matiz (+780%) ends its first full year in India already well inside the Top 10 at #8 while the Fiat Uno (+118%) misses out on a historical Top 10 finish by just 223 units and the Fiat Siena lands at #20.
Full Year 1999 Top 17 All-brands and Top 45 All-models below.