India’s best-selling car Maruti Alto has emerged as the largest-selling small car in the world, staving off stiff competition from Toyota Aqua in Japan, Volkswagen Golf in Germany and Volkswagen Gol in Brazil.
Alto, India’s largest selling car for nine consecutive years, registered a 7.3% decline in sales in 2013 to 265,777 units but was marginally ahead of Toyota’s small car in Japan — Aqua — that saw a 2% drop in sales to 262,367 units. The largest selling small car of 2012, Volkswagen Gol saw a 13% fall in sales in 2013 to 255,057 units in a sluggish Brazilian market that also saw the Fiat Uno witness a 28% decline to fall below the 200,000 unit sales mark for the year.
In 2013, Alto’s sales fell for the third straight year and was way off its peak sales of 311,000 in 2010. The introduction of the new Alto 800, the nameplate’s first major life cycle change in 2012 was expected to boost the car’s sales but a sluggish economy has hampered its prospects.
“Alto is a perfect car for emerging economies and offers the first step of four-wheeled motorisation for India,” said Mayank Pareek, chief operating officer, marketing and sales, Maruti Suzuki India Ltd. “The last two years have been bad for the industry as a whole so Alto’s numbers also suffered. As the demand improves, sales will go back to the earlier levels and even beyond that.”:
The other prominent bestselling small cars around the world were VW Golf in Germany at 244,249 units, and Japan’s Kei cars Honda N-Box at 234,995 units and Diahatsu Move at 205,333 units. Kei cars are mini cars in Japan mostly powered by small 660cc engines and enjoy incentives from the government due to their ultra small size.