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India December 2019: Maruti Baleno secures first ever win, Kia down -67% month-on-month in stable market (-0.6%)

The Maruti Baleno is the best-selling nameplate in India for the first time.

Quick December update on India as there is a momentous event in the models ranking. It’s a second consecutive stable month for Indian wholesales in December at -0.6% to an estimated 237.440 units including luxury brands. Market leader Maruti (+2.5%) is in positive and remains above the symbolic 50% share mark at 51.7%. Hyundai (-9.8%) is in difficulty at #2 as is Tata (-10.3%) at #4 but Mahindra (+8.7%) at #3 and most strikingly Renault (+64.7%) are in outstanding shape. This is Renault’s largest volume since March 2017, but could also be due to back-loading of factory shipments to meet Full Year targets, as the French carmaker as gotten us used to in Europe. Nissan (+175.4%), Skoda (+43.6%) and Volkswagen (+23.5%) also impress but the biggest surprise of the month is the paltry score (in comparison with the previous months) of newcomer Kia, down -66.8% on November to just 4.645 sales vs. 14.005. It would appear Kia has started rationalising its dealership dispatches in order to reduce its MY19 stock to maintain high pricing. We should have a better understanding on the longer-term direction of the brand in the first couple of months of 2020. Meanwhile the other newcomer of 2019, Chinese MG, drops slightly month-on-month at -6.7% on November to 3.021 but remains inside the Top 10, equal with Ford (-48.3%).

The Baleno is only the 6th monthly winner in the past 35 years after the 800, Alto, Swift, Dzire and Wagon R (from top to bottom).

The December models ranking is the theatre of a very rare event: a new #1. A whopping 4 years after its launch in October 2015, the Maruti Baleno (+65.6%), distributed in a then new, more sophisticated dealership network called Nexa, finally snaps its first monthly win, reaching its largest volume in 13 months at 18.464 – yes, no need to even break its record (20.412 in April 2018) to win, ending December with a 3.000 sales advantage over the Maruti Alto (-38.3%). Note that when including its twin the Toyota Glanza, the December figure climbs to 20.084. The Baleno is only the 6th nameplate in the past 35 years to rank #1 in the Indian monthly rankings. The previous ones are the Maruti 800 (first time in 1984), Alto (first time in May 2004), Swift (first time in April 2012), DZire (first time in May 2013) and Wagon R (in July 2019). Maruti monopolises the Top 6 with the DZire (-9%), Swift (+25.1%), Vitara Brezza (+41.3%) and Wagon R (+324.4%). The Hyundai Venue leaps up 5 spots on November to a record #7, also hit in July and August and becoming the brand’s best-seller in India for the 2nd time after last July. The Maruti S-Presso remains at #8. The Renault Triber edges up one spot to #15, the Kia Seltos is down 13 to #19, the MG Hector remains at #25 and the Maruti XL6 is up 3 to #26.

Previous month: India November 2019: Kia teases Mahindra for podium finish with 14.005 sales in stabilised market (-0.5%)

One year ago: India Full Year 2018: Maruti DZire ends 13 years of Alto reign, 6 Marutis in Top 6

Full December 2019 Top 24 All-brands and Top 85 models below.

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