* 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.
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.
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…
One year ago: India September 2014: Hyundai Elite i20 up to 5th place
Full September 2015 Top 15 brands and Top 60 models below.