Hyundai has pipped Maruti Suzuki in the SUV segment and has surged past the country's biggest carmaker to become the top-selling off-roader company.
The Korean company has been riding high on the strong numbers of entry SUV Venue, and the refreshed version of the Creta, which has seen it sail past Maruti in the April-July '20-21 period, even though the lead is slender at 1,635 units.
As the industry battles coronavirus blues as well as constraints in production, Hyundai managed to sell 34,212 SUV units in the period against 32,577 units sold by Maruti. Mahindra & Mahindra, the homegrown SUV major, sold 22,477 units in the April-July period.
For Maruti, Brezza and Ertiga have been leading the SUV challenge and the company, which has factories in Haryana and Gujarat (owned by parent Suzuki), has been trying to stabilise production. Constraints in parts supplies have been an irritant for the top carmaker as production remains a concern.
Maruti had led the SUV category in 2018-19 (264,000 units), and 2019-20 (235,000), while Hyundai was a follower, selling 125,000 and 176,000 units respectively. Mahindra had sold 217,000 SUVs in 2018-19 and 175,000 units in 2019-20.
Tarun Garg, director (sales & marketing) at Hyundai India, said the company has been enjoying an edge after Maruti decided to pull out of the diesel category altogether. "Sixty per cent of the Creta's sales come from diesel, while in Venue, the share is close to 32%. Customers buy diesel for the fun of driving, high initial torque, and fuel efficiency."
However, industry analysts close to Maruti say the problem for the company is a "temporary phenomenon" as its volumes have been constrained due to lower production levels that have been impacted due to coronavirus restrictions. As Maruti works towards normalising operations, the SUV volumes should pick up, the analysts say.
Mahindra has been impacted by rising competition that is coming not only from traditional rivals Maruti and Hyundai but also new ones such as Kia and MG.