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India May 2020: Hyundai Creta first non-Maruti #1 in 35 years in K.O. market (-84.5%)

The Hyundai Creta is the best-selling vehicle in India in May.

After completely stopping in April with zero wholesales and retail sales, the Indian new car market gingerly steps out in May at -84.5% year-on-year to just 36.576 wholesales vs. 236.533 in May 2019, pulling the year-to-date tally down -48.1% to 690.216. The nationwide lockdown was still in effect for the entire month and has been extended until June 30 in containment zones, with services resuming in a phased manner in other zones starting June 8. However factories and dealers started reopening in a staggered manner over the course of May, allowing a small car sales activity. Indian data is wholesales or factory dispatches to dealerships and given the complete absence of sales in April showrooms had overflowing inventory and minimised their orders over the month, keeping wholesales very low. Local automotive outlets originally mention “significantly higher” retail sales without giving any more detail but these hopes were later squashed by the Ministry of Transport which published retail sales figures down an even more drastic -87% to 30.719 in May vs. 235.933 in May 2019.

The Hyundai Creta is the best-selling vehicle in India in May.

May data remains extremely depressed even compared to March (-51.1%) and the near future isn’t looking rosy given the dramatic turn the COVID-19 pandemic has taken in India over the past month. Total cases have soared from 42.836 as of May 4 to 216.314 as of June 4, with deaths going from 1.389 to 6.087 over the same period. Over the past week, India is 4th globally for new COVID-19 cases at 57.981 below only the US (139.234), Brazil (143.562) and Russia (61.035) and it has the 5th largest death tally worldwide at 1.741 behind the US (7.624), Brazil (6.687), the UK (2.681) and Mexico (2.503). Couple this with two historical cyclones battering each coast at a mere weeks interval and 120 million new unemployed citizen and the recovery prospects for 2020 are dire. We have accordingly revised our 2020 Indian forecast from 1.93 million (-35%) to 1.85 million (-38%) which would be the lowest annual result since 2009.

The Maruti Ertiga is up to a record 2nd place overall.

Brand-wise, Maruti (-88.7%) endures the steepest year-on-year decline in the Top 9 and drops to just 37.5% share vs. 52.7% so far in 2020. Hyundai (-83.8%) almost exactly matches the market but scores a strong 18.8% share vs. 16.7% YTD. Mahindra (-80.8%) climbs back up to #3 for the first time since last January, even though it’s a ranking it held continuously from January 2019 to January 2020, scoring a splendid 10.2% share which is almost double its YTD level of 5.4%. One reason is the carmaker’s particularly fast transition to BS6 emission models that were dispatched to dealers in May. Tata (-71.1%) and Renault (-70.5%) resist best inside the Top 5 while Volkswagen (-47.7%) and Skoda (-55.7%) post the best holds  in market and Honda (-96.7%), Ford (-91%) and Jeep (-90.5%) are hit the hardest. Newcomers Kia (#6) and MG (#9) both remain inside the Top 10.

The facelifted Mahindra Bolero is up to a record 4th place.

The unusually small market size this month wreaks havoc in the models ranking which gives us a Hyundai monthly best-seller for the first time in Indian history and the first time there is no Maruti at #1 in 35 years, since the decades-long reign of the Hindustan Ambassador. Indeed the Hyundai Creta (-64.5%) takes advantage of the new model to shoot up directly into pole position with 3.212 wholesales, the only nameplate above 2.400 units for the month. In fact the Creta broke its ranking record the last time there were any sales in the country, in March (#6). The second place is also unheard-of: the Maruti Ertiga (-73.5%) leaps up 12 spots on March to smash its previous ranking record of #6 hit last February.

The Tata Altroz breaks into the Indian Top 10 for the first time.

The Maruti DZire (-86.3%) rounds out the podium above the Mahindra Bolero (-71.2%) up 19 spots on March to #4, its highest position in India in over 7 years, since December 2012. The Maruti Eeco (-86.2%) is up to #5, eclipsing its previous best of #6 hit in May and July 2019. The Kia Seltos is faithful to its recent level at #6, whereas the Maruti Baleno (-89.5%) and Alto (-90.8%) crater down to #7 and #8 respectively. The new Tata Altroz is up 21 spots on March to break into the Indian Top 10 for the first time at #9, a feat also managed by the Mahindra XUV300 (-75.4%) up 25 to #10. Other ranking record breakers include the VW Polo (#13), Renault Triber (#14) and MG Hector (#22).

Previous month: India April 2020: Market stops to zero wholesales and retail sales

One year ago: India May 2019: Hyundai Venue lands, hurts Maruti Vitara Brezza in worst market decline this decade (-20.5%)

Full May 2020 Top 15 All India-made brands and Top 85 All-models below.

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