Automobiles News

SUV launches jam sales highway as sedans and hatchbacks take a backseat


Mumbai: Indian carmakers have rolled out more sports utility vehicles than all other types of passenger vehicles combined in the last two years and the trend is likely to continue with many new SUVs proving instant hits.

The number of SUV launches hit a new high this calendar year at 108, reaching the three-figure mark for the first time. In the overall passenger vehicle segment, though, there have been fewer launches in 2023 than in the pre-pandemic 2019 with hatchbacks and sedans taking a hit, data collated by automotive market research firm Jato Dynamics shows.

Only 47 new sedan models hit the road this year (till October end) against 62 in 2019 while the number of hatchback launches more than halved to 21 from 48.

The increased focus on SUVs reflects a major shift in the Indian passenger car market in the last few years.

Demand for hatchbacks and sedans have declined.

SUV sales hit new highs with more than half of car buyers in the country now preferring them.This trend is a boon for car manufacturers as profit margins on these types of vehicles tend to be significantly higher compared to hatchbacks and sedans. Carmakers are “capitalising on this trend by adding safety, convenience, and connectivity features to their SUVs, further enhancing their appeal to premium-seeking buyers”, said Ravi Bhatia, president of Jato Dynamics. The industry is gung-ho about this trend continuing. “We expect the SUV share to further grow, backed by the new launches,” said Vinay Pant, head – marketing at Tata Motors Passenger Vehicles, whose Nexon is the largest-selling SUV model in the country. “The tremendous growth of SUVs has been driven by better vehicle capability like higher ground clearance, better performance allowing for multi usage options both in city and in highways and off-roads, and better safety.”

Maruti Suzuki, which overtook four rivals in less than a year to take the lead in this segment, eyes a larger play, having strengthened its SUV portfolio with Fronx and Jimny this year.

“These four SUV models (including Grand Vitara and Brezza) enabled Maruti Suzuki to become the largest SUV manufacturer for H1,” said Shashank Srivastava, senior executive director at Maruti Suzuki. He said the company hopes to increase its SUV market share to around 25% this year from last year’s level of 12%.


Tarun Garg, chief operating officer of Hyundai Motor India, said the percentage of first-time buyers preferring SUVs continues to go up in the country. The Korean carmaker, which has a range of SUVs across price segments, saw its entry SUV Exter receive more than 100,000 bookings in just six months. “The adventure edition in Creta, Alcazar, and the knight edition of Venue have all helped increase SUV contribution in our total sales from 53.2% last year to 60% this year,” Garg said. “We anticipate further growth in SUV contribution.”

For Tata Motors, too, SUVs accounted for over 60% of passenger vehicle sales with its recently launched new Nexon, Harrier and Safari finding many buyers.


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