India is increasingly preferring SUVs or utility vehicles as their choice of personal ride, shows vehicle sales data from July released by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) on Friday. The agency that represents all major vehicle and vehicular engine manufacturers in India said nearly one out of every two cars sold in India last month were SUVs with a market share of about 47 per cent. In July, India brought home nearly 2.94 lakh passenger four-wheelers, out of which 1.37 lakh were utility vehicles.
Major carmakers like Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai, Tata Motors and Mahindra are increasingly shifting their focus towards the utility vehicle segment. In recent times, all carmakers have expressed their desire to grow in the SUV segment with a host of new models launched or being prepared for the Indian market.
The July sales data shared by SIAM also points out at the shrinking market share of hatchbacks in India. The segment, which once formed the backbone of the four-wheeler auto industry, has now shrunk to less than 40 per cent. Hatchbacks formed the core segment of India's largest carmaker. It has declined by five per cent in the last financial year. Compared to 2018-19, the drop in hatchback sales for Maruti Suzuki has been 29 per cent.
The drop in hatchback sales has increased Maruti Suzuki's push for a larger SUV portfolio. RC Bhargava, Chairman at Maruti Suzuki India Limited, said, “On the other hand, the SUV sector continued to grow. We did not have enough models in this segment to compete effectively, though the situation has now become much better with the launch of the remodelled Brezza and the global launch of Grand Vitara."
Contrary to the vehicle sales data shared by SIAM, Indians still prefer hatchbacks. Cars like WagonR, Swift, Baleno and Alto have been regularly featuring as India's most preferred cars over the past few years. But with growing number of SUVs and other utility vehicles, the dominance of the hatchback looks to be on the wane.