Can updated Ciaz, Verna and City combine to revive sedans against SUVs?
- Maruti Suzuki Ciaz, Hyundai Verna and Honda City find far fewer takers in the Indian auto market than each did in years gone by. Blame SUVs.
The sedan segment in India continues to reel under an onslaught of SUVs, with sales numbers a meek shadow of glory years gone by. With sub-compact and mid-size SUVs flooding the market amidst a boom in demand, the likes of Maruti Suzuki Ciaz, Hyundai Verna and Honda City have all had to take a backseat and fight against each other more fiercely for the shrinking space available.
Interestingly, all three models have either received a minor update or are set to sport new highlights in a month. While Maruti Suzuki has updated Ciaz with Electronic Stability Program (ESP) and Hill Hold Assist as standard across variants, bookings for the 2023 Hyundai Verna were opened recently. The model will get a new turbo petrol engine and promises to offer more space for backseat passengers. Honda City is also gearing up for a mid-cycle update and will get minor cosmetic updates on the outside while possibly getting additional features.
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But will all of these help the veterans in the sedan space script a turnaround. The contribution of SUVs of all shapes, sizes and price brackets in the overall passenger vehicle sales in the country stood at 40 per cent in 2021-22. It has primarily come as many buyers have now shifted away from hatchback and sedan segments. Entry-level SUVs are being lapped up big time. Sub-compact SUVs starting at under ₹10 lakh have dealt a solid punch to mid-size sedans which are priced similarly.
Even the launch of new products like Skoda Slavia and Volkswagen Virtus has not helped the segment's cause much. Both companies, at the respective launch events, claimed that the segment has been stagnating due to unavailability of new products. But Skoda still gets more interest for its Kushaq SUV than Slavia while the same is true for Volkswagen Taigun vis-a-vis Virtus.
The market scenario and customer preference has led to big players now increasingly focusing on SUV body types. Maruti Suzuki has launched a number of SUV models in recent times - updated Brezza, Grand Vitara, Jimny and Fronx. Hyundai continues to underline the success of Creta. Mahindra's rise in sales charts comes on the back of success of updated Thar, XUV700 and Scorpio-N. Tata Motors offers Harrier and Safari while even its Punch small car is highlighted as a small SUV. Honda is planning to drive in its HR-V SUV soon while Nissan-Renault combine has confirmed four new SUVs from its plant near Chennai. As such, times are only going to get tougher for sedans.