If stats and predictions are to be believed, 2020 is likely to be a 'make or break moment' for Indian auto industry. BS VI norms starting from April, coupled with changes in lifestyle and consumer preferences are reasons that the industry is looking at turbulent times ahead.
Sadly, the industry did not have much juice in 2019. Sales remainde tepid throughout the 12 months. But, there were at least 5 good cars that ruled Indian streets despite all the gloomy outlook.
Here are those 5 cars that ruled in 2019.
5: Kia Seltos:
Tiger Shroff, the latest sensation in Bollywood, endorses this beautiful car. No wonder it grooves in different avatars (24 variants and 8 colors). Kia's Seltos was launched sometime in August but an impressive design with a claimed fuel efficiency of 18 km/l, good in-car entertainment and an entry pricing of Rs 9.7 lakhs were, perhaps, some factors that attracted buyers.
FYI, the Seltos was the runner-up at this year's ICOTY awards. Hyundai's Venue was crowned as the Indian Car of the Year. In terms of numbers, Venue's sales in October were recorded at 8,576 units - an 8 percent monthly growth.
The Seltos model reportedly sold over 5,000 models in October alone recording a whopping 65 percent growth in sales.
Image Courtesy: Kia Motors
4. Hyundai Elite i20
The second generation of the Elite i20 was launched sometime in 2012 (Yes, that long!) and it was an instant-hit with critics, fans and buyers. The latest revision in 2019 saw some updates. The elite i20 hatchback sold 14,700 vehicles in October'19, recording a 44.8 percent monthly growth.
Venue, the other popoular model from Hyundai, saw a sales of 8,576 units.
The Elite is the only model which witnessed an annual growth in sales of 10 percent (data available until the month of October). If the Venue was the most attractive looking variant, the Elite i20 has proved that it is the most trusted model in Hyundai's stables.
Image Courtesy: Modi Hyundai
3: Maruti WagonR:
No listicle can be full without talking about the country's biggest auto-maker - Maruti Suzuki. FYI, we are talking about a model that has had an illustrious 20 years on Indian streets. In Dec'19, the company sold approximately 2.4 million units of tallboy WagonR.
2019 saw several launches from the Maruti stables, but the revamped WagonR was a treat and evokes a sense of nostalgia to drive in one.
In 2019, the tall-boy grew a little taller. Then there were rear parking sensors, ABS with EBD, Android Auto with Apple Car play as entertainment models and that Maruti tag (reliability) that acted as immediate factors to buy the WagonR.
Some 4,000 WagonRs reached customer-homes from Maruti outlets in October'19 showing a 22 percent growth in monthly sales. Sales for Baleno reportedly soared by 42.2 percent this time.
Image Courtesy: Maruti Suzuki
2. Tata's Nexon
Impressive design, great body, awesome cabin, and a good driving experience are some of the factors that makes this SUV a darling. The Harrier goes a notch-up higher, promising that Land-Rover experience.
We did a recce during the Nexon launch and ever-since then loved that aggressive stance and host of compelling features that comes with Tata cars these days. It got a 5-star safety rating during NCAP tests in Dec'18. For child occupant safety, the Nexon got a 3-star.
The Nexon, Harrier, even Tigor and Tiago models are great value for money. But sales numbers have been disappointing for almost all Tata vehicles. During October, only 4,400 Nexons were sold, recording a 56 percent monthly growth. This was still lower than sales in May'19. Honestly, we thought more Indians would have liked a safe, durable and good vehicle.
In December, Tatas impressed us with a shiny new e-alternative - The Nexon EV that promises 300 miles on a single charge. Image Courtesy: Tata CEO Guenter Butschek during the latest Tata Nexon EV launch.
Two models that literally left netizens scratching their heads (trends based on our internal stats) were the S-Presso and Hector from MG Motors. While Morris Garages called its model the first internet car of the country, Maruti's S-Presso depended on the sheer magic of the Alto brand.
During S-Presso's (read revamped Alto) launch sometime in Sept'19, Maruti folks unveiled a shiny car priced at Rs 3.69 lakhs. They even called it a mini-SUV promising a new experience for first-time buyers. If you are curious how popular that Alto model was for Maruti, you must know that they sold a record 38 lakh Alto models until November 2019. The Ford F-series (nearly 41 million) and Toyota Corolla (45 million) are models that sold more than the Alto.
In October'19, Maruti sold 16,237 Baleno (down by 13 percent in the year); 19,569 models of Dzire (12.4 percent annual growth); 19,500 Swift (12.7 percent jump); 14,359 WagonR (34.8 percent); and 10,000 Eeco (49.1 percent annual jump). The S-Presso certainly seems like fitting in the Maruti vision of achieving formidable numbers. This October it clocked sales of 10,634 vehicles, recording double growth within a month.
Image Courtesy: Maruti Suzuki
1. MG Hector
There was so much buzz around Hector's launch, the TV commercials, the factory visits, and the trends on Twitter... The MG Hector certainly could not have gone unnoticeable.
Starting at a price slightly upwards of Rs 12 lakhs, the makers told us that they had over 10,000 bookings before launch in July. MG placed a big bet investing some 2,200 crores at its Halol plant for the Hector. Seems like the bet has paid off.
In terms of sales, the MG Hector sold 3,536 vehicles within a month (October) recording a cool 35 percent growth. Sales for the vehicle have been consistently rising in recent times.
Image Courtesy: MG Hector
Other 2019 trending models:
Although 2019 was a year of great distress (want to know more? click here for that) for the auto sector, data shows there were some winners in terms of catching consumer interest. There was some cheer for models such as Ford EcoSport, Endeavor, Scorpio, Ertiga, Hyundai Santro, and even the Kwid.
With BS-VI about to commence in a few months and the sector's shift towards EV, we are hopeful that the new year will bring better vehicles and deals for customers.
Disclaimer: The story sources data (quantitative and qualitative) from several sources. OEM sales data has been sourced from AutoPunditz. The story is only representative and readers should opt for a test-drive to evaluate the merits prior to a decision.