Chennai, April 22, 2018: It’s rush hour on SUV lane and the top names are going head-to-head for ownership of the fastest growing segment in the automobile business.
According to report published in auto.economictimes.indiatimes.com by Nandini Sen GuptaThis week both Maruti Suzuki and Mahindra & Mahindra went screeching tyres for the top slot in the SUV (Sports Utility Vehicle) market. Maruti announced that it has closed FY17-18 as the leader of the SUV segment with 2,53,759 units, up nearly 30% over the year before and with a marketshare of 27.5%.
Rival Mahindra & Mahindra claims that it is clearly No 1 in the fourth quarter with a cumulative 67,805 units, much of its momentum driven by its rural market push.
“Our focussed rural strategy has led to increased network reach and penetration in rural and upcountry market and brought us 12% overall growth in upcountry markets,” said Rajan Wadhera, president-automotive sector, M&M.
That and the new products lined up for this year — the new Rexton code named Y400, the Ssangyong platform based S201 which will take on the Hyundai Creta and the Tata Nexon and the U321 — are its big bets to take back leadership of the segment from Maruti on a longer term. Maruti of course is already ahead thanks to the success of its Vitara Brezza and S-Cross models.
According to R S Kalsi, senior executive director (marketing & sales), Maruti Suzuki sales of Vitara Brezza increased by 36.7% in 2017-18, while it jumped by 44.4% for S-Cross and 4.1% for Ertiga.
Even premium SUV maker Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM) will enter this top growth market with its Toyota-badged Brezza under its global alliance with Suzuki. “In India, we see a swift move on par with the other countries SUV trends such as USA, where out of every 2 cars sold, 1 is an SUV. The trend looks set to get stronger with most PV manufacturers hard at work on developing new SUVs for the Indian market. We have a say in this market & will continue to give our offerings especially in the higher end SUV segment,” said TKM deputy managing director N Raja.
Wadhera admits looking ahead to the next 18 months will be tough given the plethora of new brands eyeing this segment.
Auto.economictimes.indiatimes.com further added that there’s Kia and SAIC/MG Motor both of which have announced Sports Utility Vehicle plans, and Peugeot too is rumoured to be considering an SUV debut.Then there’s Toyota’s entry into the mass segment and the lanes look super crowded to say the least. Maruti too is reportedly lining up a fresh product in this segment.
“There will be more products, more players and more competition,” said Wadhera. “It will be tough and success will depend upon pull-products rather than push ones.”
The bumper-to-bumper traffic notwithstanding the segment is still very attractive for auto companies.
The Sports Utility Vehicle tally is already just short of a million strong this year and is expected to hit 2 million units in five years said Wadhera.