Aggressive foreign carmakers are trying their best to break into the country’s topselling brands, but in the great Indian road race, there’s still no overtaking Maruti Suzuki.
Data collated by HT and confirmed by companies shows that India’s biggest carmaker accounted for the four biggest-selling cars in the financial year to March 31, the third year in a row that it has been so dominant.
The powerful showing from Maruti’s dimunitive cars comes despite the much-hyped launch 18 months ago of Hyundai’s Grand i10, and the challenge from Indian rivals such as Mahindra and Tata who share some of Maruti’s strengths in distribution.
The company’s entry-level Alto nonchalantly topped the charts for the 11th-year running, while compact sedan Dzire and hatchback cousin Swift crossed sales of 200,000 units for the first time.
The days when it had a 90% market share — before the advent of cheap Korean rivals — are long gone, but in 2014-15 Maruti grew its market share by 4 percentage points to 46%, thanks in large part to the performance of its top four models.
“In last fiscal, number of firsttime buyers improved to around 44 %, up from around 37% in 201314. This gives a positive signal for entry-level cars, where Maruti has a strong presence,” a company spokesperson said.
Sales of the Alto included five months of the peppier Alto K10, which also offered the world’s cheapest automatic variant. This launch helped Alto grow for the first time in four years, and it’s still some 90,000 off its peak sales recorded in 2010-11. The 15-year-old Wagon R showed its staying power.
The only non-Maruti in the top 5 is the Mahindra Bolero, which saw sales decline by 6% during 2014-15 due to falling farm incomes. The next three cars in the top 10 are all Hyundai: the Grand i10, the recently launched Elite i20, and the Eon. Honda’s mid-size sedan City also re-enters the list after a 5-year break and is also the fastest growing brand in the country.
For the second straight year, no Tata car could measure up against competition. Its new launches Zest and Bolt have only met with lukewarm response so far.