The automotive industry in India is booming and it's not just us saying it but it's the numbers that tell the story. India is currently the second fastest growing market for passenger sales globally and it's grown by 7 per cent last year. India is just behind China as far as growth is concerned and with more companies coming into market, there will certainly be a lot more to expect. Passenger vehicles sales stood at 29,66,637 units last year as against 27,72,270 units in 2015 and that's a huge growth considering the hurdles the industry is facing, may it be demonetisation or even government initiatives to ban BS III compliant vehicles. Considering the numbers, the consumer now is spoilt for choice when it comes to the sheer number of cars on offer.
Though the latest trend in India and in fact globally is the SUV segment, carmakers are not shying away from introducing cars in other segments as well and in a volatile market like India, it becomes extremely important that you get everything right in one go. While many car makers are getting a hang of things, the new entrants are learning from the mistakes the established ones have made. However, there are a bunch of brands who have gained the trust of the customer in India and the cars from their stables have done extremely well. We take a look at the top 5 most popular brands in the country.
1. Maruti Suzuki
Maruti Suzuki clearly has the largest piece of the pie when it comes to the automotive industry in India and it's solely because it has been innovating and keeping the customers happy with new products that are reliable, easy to maintain and affordable. Maruti Suzuki also has a robust dealership network, supported by the biggest service system in the country, with over 1500 facilities and counting. The company also opened a premium dealership Nexa which has found success through cars like the Ignis, Baleno, the S-Cross and now even the Ciaz. The company has plans to sell 2 million units a year by 2020 and it will do this by introducing new products in India. The company has also been toying with the idea of bringing in hybrid cars into India and its tie-up with Toshiba and Denso to produce lithium-ion batteries in India is a step in that direction.
Hyundai's first model Santro was an unmitigated success. It took on cars from different segments in the Maruti Suzuki stable, and made a significant dent in the latter's sales figures. It was the tall boy stance and the features that made the Santro a household product and Hyundai one of the most popular brands in the country. Hyundai boasts of a service network with 1000 facilities and offers a whole bunch of options for its buyers. With the new design and features, Hyundai managed to penetrate into segments that most other or even homegrown manufacturers did not venture into. The company consistently improved on design, quality and efficiency, and currently has an enviable model lineup, from entry level hatchback to luxury SUV. It's one of those companies that keeps market leader, Maruti Suzuki, on its toes as well. The company's approach to making cars in India has changed and we say this because it's concentration has moved from being just an exporter to focusing more on the domestic market. There's a lot expected from the company this year and the new-gen Verna is one of the products to look forward to.
Toyota is a name synonymous with quality and maintainence. There are a whole lot of us who will agree that they are quite light on the pocket as well and the company has been delivering its consumers the best of products. Look at the new Innova Crysta! The company not only made the price a bit more premium but also justified the pricing by packing it in with some great features and the consumers responded by buying it in huge numbers. The waiting period for one of these cars is still about 2 months. Despite the premium pricing and long waiting periods, the Innova continues to be the market leader in its segment every month. While the company has not had much success in the hatchback and sedan segment in India with the Etios and the Liva, Toyota has never ventured into the small car segment but from what we know, that too is about to change. Toyota has been making waves in the Premium SUV segment too with the Fortuner and its been a runaway success for the company. Toyota will soon be launching the Vios sedan in India and we look forward to what it has to offer.
Mahindra has been a leader in transportation and is a manufacturer that has focused on bringing out some popular SUVs and MPVs in the market. It's got its popularity from the rugged image and good build quality of its cars and this is coupled with value for money features. The Scorpio, XUV500 define the company's image as being some of the foremost of SUVs in the Indian market. The funky styling, aggressive street presence, and reasonable pricing make it a favourite in the SUV segment.
Add a long list of features to the mix which includes automatic transmission, sunroof, 4WD and a host of intelligent innovations, the customers or rather owners are happy with the choice that they've made. There are already more than 2 lakh Scorpio's on Indian roads and the company just recently updated the XUV500 with some segment first features as well. The company has continued its assault on the SUV segment with the launch of the TUV300 and NuvoSport which has received moderate success. Mahindra even have an electric offering in the e2O and it's the only all-electric car in the country. Mahindra is looking to expand this number significantly in the coming years.
5. Tata Motors
Tata Motors is yet another manufacturer who has had a successful run in India with its SUVs. However,the company has struggled to leep pace with the likes of Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai and this has been one of its biggest challenges. The Indica has had a good run but the same cannot be said about the Manza or even the Nano. However, now, the company is more focused and with the launch of the Tiago and the Tigor, it's clear that the direction that the copmpany is taking is the righht one.
Tata Motors has brought us broducts like the Sierra, followed by the popular Safari and even the Sumo. The latest from Tata's stable is the Tiago and the Tigor and both cars aim to put the company on the map. The Tiago has assured in a new sense of hope as it's been selling an average of 4000 units a month ever since it was launched last year. The company has significantly ramped up its dealership network as also service outlets. The new generation of vehicles will usher in a new hope and a new outlook for Tata Motors.