Photo courtesy: Hyundai India
Photo courtesy: Hyundai India

Five possible reasons why Hyundai Creta sales have hit a road bump

  • Hyundai Creta was the undisputed monarch of the compact SUV segment in India. In recent times, a number of factors have resulted in that mantle not appearing all that glittery anymore.

The Creta has been a runaway success for Hyundai over the last several years since the SUV was launched in India back in 2015. Creta managed to elevate itself to be the aspirational big car with great styling elements, a long list of features, good driving dynamics - all packaged at a price point that was relatively affordable. Creta, in fact, knocked Duster from Renault off the compact SUV mantle and reigned supreme for a considerable period of time - even after a face lift was launched to wide appreciation.

Not anymore.

Creta's superior positioning in its segment has been repeatedly challenged and the car in its current avatar has found the going tough. Recent months have seen the sales graph being rather lifeless and there can be a number of possible reasons for this. Here are five:

Overall gloom in the auto sector

The Indian auto industry never faced as big a crisis as it did in 2019. It was not just about one product or one company as the choppy waters made going extremely tough for most big players. Hyundai was no exception. While the Korean company did well to bring in Venue sub-compact SUV this year and it did a commendable job in being able to connect with Indian car buyers, its other siblings were not so lucky. In December of 2019, Hyundai's overall sales came down 10% compared to December of 2018. The company said it sold 50,135 units in the last month as compared to 55,368 in December of 2018 and while it did not provide a breakup, it is quite evident that Creta was the main driving force a year ago and its losing charm may have affected sales in 2019.

Stiff competition from rivals

The SUV segment in the country has always been tough and life may have come a full circle for the Creta. When Creta was first launched, it delivered quite a knockout punch to the Duster from Renault but in the ensuing years, others have upped their game and possibly done the same.

While the Indian auto sector is littered with SUVs of all shapes and sizes, the sub-compact SUV segment has been quite the lucrative one. Offered at a lower price point, cars like XUV 300 from Mahindra, Nexon from Tata Motors and even Hyundai's own Venue have found favour in a price-conscious market.

Then there is the rousing success stories scripted by Kia courtesy Seltos and by MG Motor who drove in the Hector. Both SUVs are well above the price point of compact SUVs and are also in a segment above but have still managed to rake up sales numbers. The waiting period for both cars continue to be in weeks and the buzz may have turned people away from Hyundai's showrooms.

BS 4 vs BS 6

The palpable uncertainty in the minds of Indian car buyers about the transition to BS 6 emission norms from April 1 of 2020 has mostly made them hold on to their plans of going shipping. This is, quite obviously, not a Creta-specific issue but buyers contributing to Creta's sales back in 2015, 2016, 2017 and even 2018 were not perturbed about emission levels as they may have been in 2019.

Dreaming of an electric future

The government is pushing towards electric mobility and car makers are slowly - but surely - moving in the same direction as well. Hyundai brought in the Kona electric in 2019 while several other manufacturers too have either showcased products or revealed plans of bringing them in.

As such, there is a fair chunk of prospective buyers who may be keeping their purses closed for now in order to 'invest' in an electric car(s) in the times to come. Again, this may not have affected Creta sales directly but if buyers are keeping away, it would also affect this vehicle.

Waiting for 2020 Hyundai Creta

The single biggest factor that may be hurting Creta's sales numbers is that the new Creta is around the block. The 2020 Creta promises to have major visual updates and be even more feature packed to take on its newer rivals like Seltos and Hector.

The new Creta is likely to sport refreshed head lights with sleek LEDs on top. Inverted L-shaped DRLs were also seen on the recent ix 25 showcased in China (Creta is named ix 25 in China) and this could make way into the India version as well.

Under the hood, the 2020 Creta will surely sport BS 6-compliant engines and a 1.5-litre petrol and diesel motors are expected. All eyes, however, would be on whether a 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine is also put up as a variant option.

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