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Old 9th September 2010, 14:11   #1
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Default August 2010 - Indian Car Sales Figures & Analysis

The Indian car market continues its bullish run. August 2010 was the best month ever - in the history of the industry - with 160,794 passenger cars sold, a whopping 33% increase over the 120,681 sales tally of August 2009. For the record, July 2010 sales were 158,764. The upcoming Diwali season will boost the sector even more.

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Old 9th September 2010, 14:12   #2
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Entry-level cars:

- With Tata's Sanand (Gujarat) plant gaining traction, India's cheapest car - The Tata Nano - finds 8,103 new homes in August. This cute li'l cars sales have been limited by production constraints from the time of its launch. Good news is, the Nano is now available off the shelf in some states. Within a couple of quarters, the Nano should easily overtake the Alto for the mantle of "India's best selling car". Also, upcoming new variants (diesel, electric, premium Europa version) will greatly widen the Nano's appeal. After Mamata Banerjee, the new challenges for Tata are fire-burning Nanos generating bad press, & wafer thin profit margins.

- I'd always insisted that the Maruti 800 is more popular within semi-urban / rural cities than in the large metros. This statement is validated by the fact that, despite the 800 being phased out of BS-IV cities, its numbers haven't drastically fallen, compared to the "pre-BSIV" months. Still, the former "most popular" Indian car (for over 2 decades) eats humble pie with only 1,919 units in August. Clearly, price alone doesn't make for purchase criteria anymore. Indian customers see more value in the Maruti Alto (above) and Tata Nano (below). Maruti is unnecessarily dragging the M800 beyond its time. I say, release 500 limited edition 800s with the 1.6 VVT under the hood (collectible edition ), have a grand farewell party and R-I-P.
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Old 9th September 2010, 14:12   #3
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A2 Hatchback Segment:

- The Maruti Alto retains the No.1 spot in India. Whats new, right? Actually, there is an interesting development. The Alto has been pumping iron (read = more powerful K-10 engine variants). A lot of potential customers who looked away from the Alto due to its average performance, especially under load and with an air-conditioner, are revisiting the car again. The Alto registers amongst its best ever monthly sales - a whopping 28,430 units sold. Of course, and expectedly, there would be some pent up demand for the fresh K-10 in this figure.

- The practical Maruti WagonR fills up the No.2 spot in India with 12,976 sales. Moderator Eddy's test-drive of the car stressed on how its the "same formula, only improved". Maruti's conservative approach with the new WagonR worked out swell.

- One of the oldest 4.5 lakh rupee hatchbacks remains amongst the most popular. Maruti Swift = 11,508. The market remains in awe of its styling and fantastic engines (petrol & diesel), overlooking other flaws (quality, rear space, age). What I find most interesting is that the all new next-generation Swift will be reaching our shores in 2011; yet, the current generation shows absolutely no signs of slowing down.

- The highly competent i10 ended August with a score of 11,294. Not too much variation in the Hyundai's performance as its been hovering around the 11,000 - 12,000 mark since ages. While the numbers are respectable, its important to note that the segment has grown, albeit the i10 stays at the same level. Its market potential is restricted by the absence of a diesel engine option. Hyundai has been very slow in reacting to market trends over the last 2 - 3 years. Bring that oil-burner in, will you!

- 7,531 Indica sisters (previous gen and the new Vista) sold in August. About 50% of these would be Vistas (3,000 odd), a surprisingly below-par performance from Tata. Clearly, the Indica is no longer the only one with the USPs of interior space + diesel economy; newer launches (including the Ford Figo) offer those too. Lets not forget that the Vista was poorly positioned & marketed. Clearly, the otherwise all-rounded hatchback suffers, to a large extent, from an image problem.

- There's another pleasant surprise here. The premium-priced Hyundai i20 sold a staggering 7,134 cars in August. Who would have thought that a 6 - 7.5 lakh rupee hatchback in India would ever manage such success? Not even Hyundai themselves, whose initial sales projection was only 1,000 - 1,500 units. I reiterate that the Indian customer is now value-driven (not cost-driven) and is bowled over by the i20's styling, premium quality, equipment level and space. The customer will pay top rupee for top product today.

- The other practical tallboys - the Maruti Ritz and the Hyundai Santro - managed 6,609 and 6,619 deals respectively. As a product, the Ritz is superior to the Swift. But hey, looks & image count right? WRT the Santro, I still think its a great entry-level hatchback.

- The Figo continues to give Ford previously unseen volumes. August = 6,382. Ford was spot on with the pricing of this well-rounded car and the superb diesel engine; this shows in its success. There is some level of bookings backlog, and Ford is also juggling between local & export requirements. Either ways, I expect the Figo to settle at the 6,000 - 7,000 mark over the coming year or two. Long term potential (from 2012 - 2013 onward) could be limited as the Figo is an old design and completely lacking in the "wow" factor.

- Unimpressive by Maruti standards, the Maruti Zen Estilo (3,838) and the Maruti A-star (2,592). The former is completely over-shadowed by the WagonR that has a generation-newer platform, while the latter has suffered from poor market positioning (price, space) from day 1. That's good news for the customer IMHO. It's poor performances like these that tell Maruti it can't take anything for granted anymore. These cars will keep the boys in Gurgaon on their toes.

- With its Chakan plant running a second shift (for the Vento too), the VW Polo records its best ever month with 3,211 units sold. Clearly, a good chunk of the market is willing to overlook 3 cylinder engines and premium prices for build quality & brand. With the Polo alone, VW now overtakes Skoda's total volumes in the Indian market. Volkswagen can realistically target 8,000 - 10,000 monthly sales, in 2 / 3 quarters from now, once the Vento's production stabilizes.

- The Chevrolet siblings, Spark (2,462) and Beat (2,461), bring the General a respectable (total) volume. However, I'm surprised by the Beats mere 2.5K level. The car is VFM priced, has excellent ride quality, good build and some stand-out features. Obviously, there is some overlap between the closely priced Spark & Beat. Probably the market hasn't taken too kindly to its futuristic love-me-or-hate-me styling either. The Beat should double its volumes when the diesel engine arrives shortly.

- Nissan sold 1,182 cheeky new Micras in August. This is in line with my predictions of about a 1,000. The car is an excellent city hatch, while Nissan has managed the pricing & equipment well too. The wafer-thin dealership network seems to be the largest obstacle. Trouble is, not too many entrepreneurs are willing to invest big bucks in expensive dealerships these days, more so on a brand that has a single car that really sells. Nissan has to work the hardest on its distribution strategy.

- Bottom of the class : Fiat Grande Punto 1,012 (a premium hatch with not so premium interiors, fit, finish and brand), the Honda Jazz 587 (excellent car that's shockingly overpriced), Skoda Fabia 496 (learn from VW!), the Chevrolet U-VA 234 (who?) and the Fiat Palio 12 (are you still around?).
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Old 9th September 2010, 14:12   #4
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Entry Level Sedans:

- The Maruti Dzire remains king-of-the-hill with 8,431 cars sold in August; even the hugely competent Manza hasn't created any perceptible dent in the Dzire's run. Maruti still has long waiting periods on the diesel Dzire, sales of which are completely dependent on the max number that Maruti can produce. Period. Tata moved 6,678 Indigos (old and new) in the same period. As a car, I choose the Manza over the Dzire. However, the latter has Maruti's brand value, excellent after-sales service and proven trouble-free ownership (something Tata needs to desperately work on) in its favour. Can't argue with the Dzire's no-nonsense nature, can you?

- The terribly outdated Accent found 1,390 customers!! I am left amazed. I guess the only thing running in its favour is the VFM pricing. To gain a better perspective of the Accent's achievement, take a look at the score of its arch rival from a decade ago. Ford Ikon = merely 261 units.

- Ford can release all the special editions they want (and then some), but the Fiesta is clearly showing its age. Fact is, the Fiesta's cabin space & slashed pricing move it a segment lower. August = 1,058. Not really impressive, yet expected.

- The divorce with Renault was painful, but the Logan's August run is the sweetener for Mahindra. This sedan which languished at 300 cars in recent months closed August with a tally of 801. Does Mahindra do it better when alone (vis a vis Mahindra-Renault)? We also expect a chopped sub-4 meter variant of the Logan which will be priced substantially lower (due to excise benefits). I guess its not yet time to ring down the curtains. I stand corrected.

- The Chevrolet Aveo (remember me?) fills up the segment's rear with merely 315 cars moved off showroom floors. Can someone please explain why GM is wasting time on this sedan?

8 - 10 lakh rupee C segment sedans:

- Vento or no Vento, the market clearly is a believer in the Honda City's value proposition, despite it being the most expensive C segment sedan! 4,251 City's off the shelf in August. This is a noticeably higher number than the average that Honda maintained over the last 4 - 5 months. Fact is, no one can go wrong in buying this all-rounder of a sedan. The market speaks. It'll be fun to analyse the Vento's numbers from October onward.

- We may not agree with the Verna's facelift, or its overall competence as a C segmenter, yet 2,138 Indians voted with their cheque books. Hyundai's excellent sales & service standards, brand name and the Verna's interiors space / diesel engine work in its favour. The Maruti SX4 registers an equally respectable performance of 2,048, despite having only a petrol engine (no diesel variant).

- The Fiat Linea dives 20% to the 800 level (usually maintained a thousand sales). Still a reasonable performance, though this car will be hit hard by the Vento. The VW offers similar attributes (European build, high level of equipment, diesel, excellent ride & handling). Get this, in terms of $$$ turnover, the Linea betters the cheaper Punto for Fiat's bean counters.

- "Pull the plug on" automobiles : Chevrolet Optra (82) and Mitsubishi Lancer + Cedia (49). Irrelevant cars that have completely lost favour with the market.

The C+ sedans:

- After driving the Altis diesel, I'd predicted that Toyota will snatch the lead of the 10+ lakh rupee segment from the Cruze. Though it did just that (1,024 units), the surge has been less than spectacular. Sure, its only just been launched and we should wait before passing judgement, but no one can deny that the D-4D's performance is from two segments below. Thanks to its puny engine, cheaper sedans like the Vento and Verna can leave the Altis D4-D for dead. Then, there's also the overlap between the Innova & Altis (for those looking at a functional diesel Toyota). I look forward to the Altis' numbers over the coming quarters.

- The quick Cruze continues its successful run with 724 cars moved off showroom floors. Diesel to diesel, the Cruze probably outsells the Altis. That's no mean feat when you consider the difference in the brand equity of Chevrolet and Toyota. Great job and well-deserved I say.

- Skoda ends August with a total of 652 Lauras moved. This is a noticeable improvement month-on-month (July was about 1/2 this number) and despite newer competition, the Laura seems to have maintained its numbers. The facelift, diesel engines, build quality and equipment levels push the Laura on.

- The Honda Civic clocks in a marginal improvement @ 455 cars. Still, the lack of a diesel engine, features and Honda's pricing strategy limits its market potential. The Civic isn't going anywhere in the near future. Atleast not until the new generation arrives on our shores and is positioned more sensibly.

- VW's focus is entirely on volumes of the sub 10 lakh segment. That, coupled with its boring styling, push the Jetta to the back of the pack. August = 215.
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Old 9th September 2010, 14:12   #5
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Multi-Utility-Vehicles:

- The Omni may be a basic bread box on wheels, yet the van offers the maximum sq. ft. per rupee. It's also amongst the cheapest 4 wheelers on sale in India. 7,855 new customers, a good number of which are commercial users. Maruti makes quite the fat packet on the Omni. It's after all a 25 year old UV that has been entirely localised, and its production machinery completely depreciated. Cheap, still hugely profitable for its maker.

- Placed a segment higher, but targeting a similar customer profile, is the Maruti Eeco. Extremely impressive tally of 6,302 in August. In proportion, the number of private owners for the Eeco will be higher than that for the Omni. Still a UV, yet the Eeco is better as a family car than the terribly basic Omni. The Versa was a market failure; clever re-positioning (read = slashed prices) has resulted in making the Eeco a success. The Eeco marketing team can expect fat diwali bonus cheques.

- Semi-urban and rural India just can't seem to get enough of the Bolero (August = 6,006). The UV may have ancient underpinnings, albeit its also exceedingly robust. The Bolero remains Mahindra's cash cow, outselling the more modern Xylo by a mile (Mahindra Xylo = 2,934 units). The Mahindra Xylo, despite a substantially lower price, fails to match up to the Innova.

- What the City is to Honda, the Innova is to Toyota. 4,238 customers chose the Innova as their steed last month. Even with premium pricing (vis a vis competitors). A solid workhorse if I ever saw one & well worth the additional $$$.

- Tata has been so busy with hatchbacks and sedans that it has completely ignored the UV segment...an area that was once a stronghold. The two-decade-old Sumo found a mere 1,651 new homes in August. That's not too different from the Tavera which closed August with a score of 1,435. Honestly, either MUV is past its prime.

- About 972 miscellaneous Mahindra Jeeps sold in August, while the hardcore Maruti Gypsy 4x4 did 161. Bet atleast a couple of these were fresh offroaders on Team-BHP

- Walk into a Force Motor's showroom and you'd think they don't want to sell you any cars, so poor is the marketing & sales effort. Looks like 679 customers somehow managed to get their hands on the Trax.

Sub-10 lakh rupee SUVs:

- No contest here. The Scorpio (3,082) continues to outsell the Safari (1,233) in a 3:1 ratio. The Scorpio is better to use in the city, more reliable and a newer product.

Diesel Premium SUVs:

- My nominated 20 lakh rupee game changer (The 20 lakh rupee Game-Changers!) - the Toyota Fortuner - maintains its stunning market performance with an unbelievable 1,040 sales tally. 2 million rupee vehicles have traditionally sold only 200 - 300 cars in our market; the Fortuner rewrites all rules. A full year after launch, the delivery waiting period is between 3 - 9 months (depending on your location). Unreal run from my pick in the SUV segment. The similarly priced Ford Endeavour (224 units), Chevrolet Captiva (176) and Mitsubishi Pajero (122) are "left in the dust" (pun intended). In fact, the Fortuner outsells all of its diesel competitors combined. The Nissan X-Trail closed August with 44 units, the CBU inflated price tag obviously working against it.

Petrol Premium SUVs:

- Shockingly, the petrol Outlander outsold the diesel Pajero with a score of 193. Get this, the Outlander is now the best selling Mitsubishi in India. Great option for urban dwellers. On the other hand, the outrageously priced CRV (22) and dull Grand Vitara (5) are nowhere to be seen.
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Old 9th September 2010, 14:12   #6
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The D Segment sedans:

- My other "20 lakh rupee game changer (The 20 lakh rupee Game-Changers!)" - the Skoda Superb - continues its domination over the D segment. August saw 363 examples of this limousine sold, nearly 80% more than its closest competitor, the Accord (203). It's truly wake up time for Honda who needs to learn how to equip its premium priced cars. The 2nd runner up is VW's Passat with a score of 66; the Passat is so obviously and completely overshadowed by its more glamorous sister (the Superb). The "ignored by Hyundai" Sonata pulled in a paltry 26 deals. Even Nissan, with its wafer-thin dealer network and CBU pricing, sold 21 Teanas. About 34 Camrys moved in August, a good number of which would be EPCG-benefitting hotel owners. The next generation Camry will be locally assembled and hopefully, a real contender.

Luxury Sedans:

- All the volumes may be in the hatchback segment, yet I can assure you that the war between the Germans is no less intense. To reinforce that fact, compare the total sales numbers of the mega-Germans. BMW = 583 versus Mercedes = 573. God bless competition, wot? We're now seeing better engines, equipment levels and more frequent updates than ever before.

- Corporate edition or no corporate edition, Mercedes (with its renewed vigor) sells more C Class (258) than the BMW 3 series (229). Audi trundles along with 120 A4s sold. Make no mistakes, the A4 is a heck of a car. Yet, the brand's aspirational value & dealership network pales in comparison to Merc & BMW. The 3 series feels small / outdated now and primarily brings in the volumes from the cut-price corporate ed.

- Move up to the 50 lakh segment and its the fab new 5 series that snatches the lead. 268 5 series sold against 210 Mercedes E Class. Audi, again, is no where near the big 2 with 50 of the aging A6 sold. The Audi A6 is the oldest of this bunch, and the all-new generation (expected soon) should help matters. Don't miss how the 50 lakh sedans have sold nearly as many cars as their cheaper 30 lakh rupee siblings. Volvo is completely absent from the game with 2 S80's sold. They are better off spending time on trucks & buses in India. After all, the S80 is completely lacking in any USP.

- Everyone views the S-Class as the "best sedan in the world". Not surprising then that the Merc remains numero uno in the 1 crore segment with 45 (lucky) owners. BMW sits fat in the S' rear view mirror with 41 7 series moved. VW's Phaeton actually outsold the Audi A8 4 : 1 (exact numbers and ratio). The Phaeton was only recently launched and has some novelty value, but Audi has a lot to learn when it comes to marketing. Like the A6, the A8 is also long in the tooth.

Luxury SUVs:

- The Q5 is now India's favourite premium SUV. Need proof? This mini-Q7 sold about as many as all of its European competitors. Q5 = 59, Q7 = 17 (numbers dipped after the cheaper Q5 was introduced), Mercedes GL Class = 23 and Mercedes M Class = 14. The 50-lakh rupee Prado was picked by 15 customers last month, while the Volvo XC90 had 9 buyers. Porsche did about 3 Cayennes. BMW's SUVs don't enjoy the same success as their sedan siblings. BMW X5 and X3 sold 3 & 1 units respectively. The Mitsubishi Montero & 1 crore rupee Landcruiser found absolutely no takers at all.

The strangely styled & positioned BMW X6 cross-over sold 17 units.

Niche premium cars:

- 35 VW Beetles shipped, this cute car must be some hit with the page 3 ladies. Right after is the BMW GT @ 13. The politically correct Toyota Prius had 10 tree-huggers take her home. 3 Porsche Panameras sold, but not a single Porsche 911. One enthusiast even bought a Boxster S, while two opted for the Nissan 370Z. The Fiat 500 gathers dust in the stockyard. Details of other niche cars:
Mercedes E-Cabrio - 9
BMW Z4 – 8
Mercedes E-Coupe - 6
Mercedes CLS – 4
BMW 6 Series - 3
Mercedes SLK - 3
Audi TT - 2
Audi R8 - 1
Mercedes SL - 1

Even when spending over a crore rupees, the Indian customer wants practicality. That's precisely why the Porsche SUV + sedan outsell its 2 seater sports cars in a 6:1 ratio. Shocking because these cars haven't made Porsche the icon that it is today. Money talks, we want 4 doors, stupid!
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Old 9th September 2010, 14:20   #7
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Great write up GTO

When is the excel sheet being uploaded.?
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Old 9th September 2010, 14:25   #8
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Overall a spectacular month. Inspite of this Fiat managed to show negative growth on Y to Y basis. In fact the only car maker to do so.

I am watching how Fiat is going to counter the slide
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Old 9th September 2010, 14:25   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SILVERWOOD View Post
Great write up GTO
Thanks

Quote:
When is the excel sheet being uploaded.?
No requests for the excel sheet please. Whoever wants it can get in touch with SIAM.
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Old 9th September 2010, 14:26   #10
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GTO, as usual nice summary.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
- My nominated 20 lakh rupee game changer (The 20 lakh rupee Game-Changers!) - the Toyota Fortuner - maintains its stunning market performance with an unbelievable 1,040 sales tally. 2 million rupee vehicles have traditionally sold only 200 - 300 cars in our market; the Fortuner rewrites all rules.
+1. This fellow sells more than the sum-up amount of all other SUV in this range


Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
- The Chevrolet Aveo (remember me?) fills up the segment's rear with merely 315 cars moved off showroom floors. Can someone please explain why GM is wasting time on this sedan?
Exactly my thought. They don't want to plonk a diesel, but want to keep it in the market. Why? Probably just to say the people out there that they do have a market share in that segment.
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Old 9th September 2010, 14:30   #11
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Great write-up GTO. Iam particularly pleased to see the consistent performance of Cruze over the last 6 months or so.

And, i also agree with you that Altis D sales will plummet after the initial brohaha is over paving the way for Cruze again to march ahead.

GM should wake up and take to some proactive selling mechanisms to push this product more off the shelf.

Has someone noticed, GM went a great step ahead and lauched a fantastic offer for Sep'10 for Spark, Beat and UV-A which includes

a) 100,000 kms warranty

b) 9- free services that includes labour, consumables and parts ( except tyres and battery)

Apart from above there was something else that i dont recall now. There is a full page ad in TOI today.

I expect this new program to jump start their Beat sales for Sep'10

Last edited by mobike008 : 9th September 2010 at 14:31.
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Old 9th September 2010, 14:32   #12
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Nice to see the analysis back after a long gap.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
- The Tata Nano - finds 8,103 new homes in August.
Not to nitpick, but these are manufacturer to dealer sales. I guess 8103 Nanos found yards in August.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
I say, release 500 limited edition 800s with the 1.6 VVT under the hood (collectible edition ), have a grand farewell party and R-I-P.
What an idea! Even if the 1.6 would be too much, can they not release an edition with the new K10 engine. Oh boy!

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
who would have thought that a 6 - 7.5 lakh rupee hatchback in India would ever manage such success?
I was talking to a Hyundai person the other day. A good portion of the i20s sold in the recent past are the 'era' variant and it costs 4.5L. This was launched in response to the Figo and it has clearly worked. The diesel hardly sells. But a great showing by the i20 nevertheless.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Either ways, I expect the Figo to settle at the 6,000 - 7,000 mark over the coming year or two.
I would say it would settle at the 7-8K mark once production stablizes and the 40 new dealers come on board.


Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
- Ford can release all the special editions they want (and then some), but the Fiesta is clearly showing its age. Fact is, the Fiesta's cabin space & slashed pricing move it a segment lower. August = 1,058. Not really impressive, yet expected.
There is a massive production constraint at the moment. Some variants have a 40 day waiting list. 2K would the normal level of sales. I wish Ford would release the new Fiesta at the earliest.

EDIT: Are the JLR numbers still too small to report? The XJ is a worthy competitor to the S Class and I would like to see the big cat doing well. With Tata's backing, it could!

Last edited by Gilead : 9th September 2010 at 14:45.
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Old 9th September 2010, 14:36   #13
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wow - GTO - I practically stopped working for 15 minutes in office and read the whole analysis at one go!
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Old 9th September 2010, 14:40   #14
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Excellent analysis GTO.

Figo looks impressive, so does Polo - from a mere 600+ to 3k+ in 06 months. Every month I am surprised by Maruti Omni nos. and this time it is interesting to know that Omni is Cheap yet Profitable for Maruti.
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Old 9th September 2010, 14:42   #15
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GTO,

What a write up and such great analysis. hats off to you for such detailed review. Should we expect the figures in the same format in the coming months too?

The no of models in the top 20 manufacturer wise
1) Maruti - 8
2) Hyundai & Tata - 3
3) Mahindra- 2
4) Ford, Honda, VW, Toyota - 1

Clearly the segment leader is in the top 3 highest selling. Maruti is selling in almost all categories of vehicles be it an entry level hatch back or sedan or MUV.

BTW the Alto which is the top selling is it with 1000cc or the earlier one or a combined figure?
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