Is the Maruti Suzuki SX4 losing ground?

During the early months of the Maruti Suzuki SX4 launch it was a popular sedan in the entry-level sedan segment. But, despite the diesel offering and also due to the launch of more attractive models such as the Volkswagen Vento and Nissan Sunny, of late, the SX4 has lost its ground.

CarToq spoke to a Chennai dealer who said that sales of the SX4 petrol had dropped due to petrol price hikes but the diesel sells in reasonable numbers. He added that while SX4 diesel is available in stock, certain colors take a month for delivery. In the last couple of months, SX4 sales have dropped below 1,000 units; to be precise, the sales of SX4 in April stood at 634 units while in May, it was 405 units only. It is also likely that Maruti Suzuki has reduced production of the SX4 in order to dish out more Swift and Dzire models which have a strong demand in the market.

maruti-sx4-diesel
Photo: Maruti SX4 has been steadily losing market share

 

Rival Attack

Couple of years back, the SX4 had to worry only about three cars: Honda City, Ford Fiesta (now Fiesta Classic) and Hyundai Verna. But today, the SX4 has so many rivals in the form of Volkswagen Vento and Nissan Sunny which have gained a significant chunk of market share in this segment within a short period. For instance, since January 2012, average sales of Sunny stood at 3,017 units and that of Vento stood at 2,468 units while average sales of SX4 stood at 1,306 units. The other reason for SX4 losing its appeal is that it hasn’t received any major facelift like the Hyundai Verna or minor facelifts like the Honda City. Maruti Suzuki offered the SX4 with new shades and a few limited editions which didn’t seem to kindle interest among buyers.

Cannibalization

Consider this: won’t you be tempted to buy a seven seater (Ertiga) at a price significantly lower than a five seater (SX4) from the same car maker? Case in point, the drastic drop in sales of the SX4 especially, after the launch of Ertiga in April 2012. You may argue that Ertiga is newly launched and hence its sales. But its VFM is something that will remain for a long time and hence, the demand will likely be the same.

Let’s compare the prices of Ertiga with the SX4 to see how the Ertiga is better value for money. The SX4 petrol variants VXI and ZXI are priced at Rs. 7.11 lakh and Rs. 7.91 lakh respectively while the Ertiga petrol variants LXI, VXI and ZXI are priced at Rs. 5.89 lakh, Rs. 6.59 lakh and Rs. 7.29 lakh respectively. Similarly, the SX4 diesel variants VDI and ZDI are priced at Rs. 8.15 lakh and Rs. 9.05 lakh while the Ertiga diesel variants LDI, VDI and ZDI are priced at Rs. 7.30 lakh, Rs. 7.90 lakh and Rs. 8.45 lakh.

Final take

Market trends have changed rapidly and customers prefer modern and more sophisticated cars today than a decade ago. No wonder that even SX4, which is backed by Maruti Suzuki’s legendry sales and service network and despite having a diesel engine option, is overshadowed by vehicles that offer better value such as the Maruti Suzuki Ertiga and Nissan Sunny. Do you think SX4 is losing ground? Please share your views.