Are sedans a forgotten breed in India? SUVs continue to dominate sales charts
Once upon a time, sedans of various shapes and sizes were considered a status symbol in the Indian car market, regardless of the price points at which each came at. From the times of the earliest Honda City, Opel Astra, Maruti Suzuki Kizashi and Ford Ikon to the likes of the relatively newer Maruti Suzuki Dzire, Honda Amaze and Ford Aspire or even the Volkswagen Vento, each has charted its own course. While a few of these models continue to persist, most have been junked.
The overwhelming preference for SUVs among Indian car buyers is only rising and this has mostly come at the cost of sedans. From the times of the earliest Renault Duster and Ford EcoSport to the new crop of sub-compact and mid-size SUV options like Maruti Suzuki Brezza, Hyundai Venue and Creta, Kia Sonet and Seltos, Tata Nexon and more, the market is flooded with options with manufacturers only to keen to oblige. Mahindra is a prime example, the company now offers only SUVs. And while there is no set definition of a Sports Utility Vehicle here, any model with even the slightest of dominating road presence is being marketed as an SUV.
There are around 50 models that are classified as SUVs in the Indian car market. Almost every single car maker here has at least one SUV model. Hyundai may be prepping a new small SUV while Honda is putting finishing touches to its mid-size SUV option. Even Maruti Suzuki, the country's largest car maker known primarily for its small cars and hatchbacks, is looking to step out and go big with its SUV lineup. "This fiscal year we expect our SUV market share to rise to 25 per cent. The SUV market is expected to be around 19 lakh units this year," Shashank Srivastava, Maruti Suzuki India Senior Executive Officer (Sales & Marketing), told news agency PTI. “We ended the fourth quarter at around 17 per cent. So we have gained market share due to the better availability of Brezza and the introduction of Grand Vitara. And now Fronx and Jimny should give us additional numbers."
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But it is not exactly a nail in the coffin for sedans just yet. Recent times have seen some very notable developments in the mid-size sedan space. Skoda launched the Slavia which was followed by the launch of Volkswagen Virtus. Earlier this year, the facelift Honda City was launched while Hyundai Verna 2023 was also officially brought out with mammoth design changes, turbo petrol engine and feature updates. Hyundai is expecting to double its monthly sales of Verna to around 6,000 per month. Others in the fray remain cautiously optimistic too. But it may be highly unlikely for sedans to reclaim past glory years regardless of all the promises each model may put forth.