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Small wonders stay ahead

In spite of a deluge of car launches, no new car managed to unsettle the trioka of Maruti, Hyundai and Tata, which strengthened their grip on best-sellers in the country. Sumant Banerji reports. Small wonder 2010 | Most sold cars

autos Updated: Jan 08, 2011 01:30 IST
Sumant Banerji

Old word charm still seems to rule, despite a bevy of new cars hitting the market. At least that’s how 2010 went. In spite of a deluge of car launches, no new car managed to unsettle the trioka of Maruti, Hyundai and Tata, which strengthened their grip on best-sellers in the country. Small wonder 2010 | Driving in 2011 | 2010 best sellers

Maruti led the way with five cars in the top 10 as the newer peppier version of its best-selling entry-level car Alto K10 launched in the middle of the year extended its lead. The Alto has become the first car in the domestic industry to sell more than 300,000 units in a year. Hyundai followed with three cars including the i10 that replaced the Wagon R to the second spot while its bread and butter Santro suprisingly managed to grow its sales during the year.

Tata Motors had a less remarkable year with the Indica emerging as the only car to have shown a decline in sales while the Nano —despite its tag as the world’s cheaptest car — could not break into the list even in its second year.

With almost 60,000 units in 2010, the Nano is the 12th best selling car in the country and may just break into the top 10 this year. Fortunately for the Tatas, its entry level sedan, the Indigo, saw its sales jump 80 % to retain its position.

Small cars continued to dominate the pecking order making up eight of the 10 cars. A notable slide was of the Honda City, which lost three positions to the 13th spot as the Hyundai i20, Ford Figo and Tata Nano nudged ahead. With most of the activity expected to remain in the small car space with the impending entry of Toyota's maiden car Etios Liva and Honda Brio, its dominance will remain intact in 2011.

“In a value conscious market like India, small cars remain the vehicle of choice for individual transportation for the masses,” said Arvind Saxena, director (sales and marketing), Hyundai Motor India Ltd. “Though other segments will see many launches and will also continue to grow, the dominance of small cars will remain.”

Of the several high profile new car launches last year, Ford's maiden small car Figo performed the best even as all the others failed to make their presence felt. US auto giant Chevrolet's Beat seemed to have run out of steam after the initial hype — selling only 36,264 units during the year. Similarly, Volkswagen Polo, Fiat Grande Punto and Skoda Fabia sold below 20,000 units each in 2010.

Despite slipping out of the top 10, Honda City remained untouchable in the premium mid-size sedan class with sales twice that of its nearest competitor Hyundai Verna. Maruti's entry level sedan Swift Dzire, however, became the first sedan ever to notch up sales of more than 100,000 units in a single calendar year.

Utility vehicle major Mahindra & Mahindra dominated the SUV (sports utility vehicle) sweepstakes with the Bolero retaining its tag as the largest selling SUV followed by the Scorpio. Toyota Fortuner extended its lead in the premium SUV space for the second straight year.

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