* See the Top 15 best-selling brands and Top 70 models by clicking on the title *
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.
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 2013, May 2014, July 2014, June 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.
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.
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.
One year ago: India October 2014: Maruti Ciaz takes off to Top 10
Full October 2015 Top 15 brands and Top 70 models below.