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India October 2019: Kia matches Hyundai’s 1998 record launch with 12.854 Seltos, first market gain of 2019 (+1%)

The Kia Seltos sells 12.854 units for its third month in market.

Finally a breath of fresh air for the Indian new car market with wholesales up 1% year-on-year to 286.753 units in October, ending a streak of 10 consecutive market declines and 6 straight double-digit falls. This is the result of an unusually high number of high impact new launches, as well as very high activity during the two biggest festivals of the year: Dussehra & Diwali. Retail sales are anticipated to be even stronger as a lot of carmakers  would have endeavoured to clear their inventory in October. Brand leader Maruti (+2.3%) returns to positive for the first time since last February but fails to clinch the symbolic 50% share for the 5th straight month at 48.5%. Below, Hyundai (-3.8%), Mahindra (-20.6%) and Tata (-28%) have missed out on the market recovery and all register year-on-year drops.

The miracle of 2019 in India points its bonnet in 5th place: launched in the country last August, Kia sees its wholesales soar 65.8% on September to reach a barely credible 12.854 units, breaking into the Top 5 brands for only its 3rd month in market, even teasing Tata for 4th place with a measly 315-unit gap. All this thanks to one single model: the Seltos, up to #7 best-seller and the new most popular SUV in India. In retrospect Kia’s tremendous success in India is hardly surprising, given how Hyundai once took this very market by storm it ranked #3 over the Full Year 2000 after launching in September 1998… For context, after 3 months Kia has sold 26.844 units and holds 1.1% of the 2019 YTD Indian market, while Hyundai sold 8.447 units of the Santro for a 1.6% share in 4 months in 1998 before reaching 61.135 wholesales and 8.5% share for its first full year in 1999 and 81.538 and 10.8% in 2000. Another interesting comparison is the 5.511 Seltos Kia sold in South Korea this month (43% of the Indian total) and the 21.064 sold in 4 months (59% of the India score).

The Maruti S-Presso breaks into the Top 10 for its 2nd month in market.

Below Toyota (-5.9%) going against the positive grain, Renault (+63%) takes off thanks to the new Triber however it is encouragingly less reliant on this model which accounts for 46% of its October volume vs. 56% in September, this thanks to a Kwid recovery (-10.8%). Below Honda (-29.4%) and Ford (-22.4%) in total perdition, MG is up another 35.6% month-on-month as local production of its unique model, the Hector SUV (a rebadged Baojun 530) continues to gear up. The Chinese carmaker has now delivered almost 10.000 units since its launch last July: a very strong showing that places it above Volkswagen again for the month.

Model-wise, the Maruti Dzire (+12.4%) is the best-selling vehicle in India for the third consecutive month and the 4th time this year, delivering its highest volume since last March, but remains #2 YTD below the Maruti Alto (-19.3%) down to #3 in October. The Maruti Swift (+12.7%) edges up one spot on September to #2 overall – and only 168 sales below the Dzire – as does the Maruti Baleno (-13%) to #4. The Hyundai Elite i20 (+10.5%) cracks the Indian Top 5 for the first time since last December, simply securing its highest ever monthly volume at 14.683 units, eclipsing its previous best of 13.378 established in February 2018. There are two new blockbusters in India: both the Kia Seltos (#7) and Maruti S-Presso (#8) break into the Top 10 for the first time but also lodge their first ever five-digit wholesales month. The Renault Triber (#19), Maruti XL6 (#24) and MG Hector (#27) also break there volume record, while the Maruti Ertiga (+418.9%) and Eeco (+49.1%) post the largest gains in the Top 40.

Previous month: India September 2019: MG in Top 10, Kia Seltos #11, Maruti S-Presso lands in market down -22.9%

One year ago: India October 2018: Hyundai Santro returns with a splash directly at #11

Full October 2019 Top 24 All-brands and Top 100 models below.

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