The year 2011 witnessed several hot launches especially in the below Rs.10 lakh sedan segment. The cars launched include the Toyota Etios, Maruti Suzuki SX4 diesel, Hyundai Verna, Nissan Sunny and the Skoda Rapid. However, not all the cars managed to successfully notch up good sales numbers. But of those that did, the Hyundai Verna, SX4 diesel and Toyota Etios are worthy of a mention as being cars that were truly hot sedan launches for 2011.
In the D segment, the new generation Volkswagen Jetta, Renault Fluence and the face-lifted Corolla Altis were launched. Here, we take a look at the sales numbers of each sedan during January – November 2011, highlighting the market’s response to them along with other interesting insights.
Here’s a look at the hot sedan launches of 2011.
The Etios marked Toyota’s entry into the mass market. Initially, Toyota offered the Etios with only a 1.5-litre petrol motor, but due to the strong demand for diesel, the company launched the 1.4-litre diesel in September. The Etios petrol is available in four trims: J, G, G SP, V and VX with a price range of Rs. 4.99 lakh – 6.97 lakh. The Etios diesel is available in three variants: GD, VD and VXD with a price range of Rs. 6.44 lakh – 7.87 lakh. Toyota sold 38,274 units of the Etios during January – November 2011. Surprisingly, sales of the Etios remained constant despite the introduction of diesel version.
The average sales of Etios throughout the year remained at 3,442 units per month. This indicates that even though not many appreciated its design, its overall proposition of a frugal, simple entry level sedan, along with the Toyota tag was appealing enough for a large number of buyers.
Maruti Suzuki SX4 diesel
The much awaited SX4 diesel powered by a 1.3-litre VGT (Variable Geometry Turbocharger) engine was launched in February 2011. The SX4 is available in two variants in both petrol and diesel. The SX4 diesel is available in two trims: VDI and ZDI with a price range of Rs. 7.78 lakh – 8.66 lakh. The sales of SX4 increased during the first two months after the launch of the diesel version and the average sales figure was around 3,500 units.
Labor strike at the company’s Manesar plant affected the production of SX4 badly in August. Hence, sales were low (196 units) in September 2011 and (320 units) in October 2011. Summing up, Maruti Suzuki sold 20,987 units of the SX4 sedan during January – November 2011 and the average sales stood at about 2800 units per month uptil June, after which production problems started at Maruti.
Hyundai launched the fluidic Verna in May 2011 and it became an instant hit. The Verna is available in four engine options: 1.4-litre petrol, 1.4-litre diesel, 1.6-litre petrol and 1.6-litre diesel. The Verna petrol variants include 1.4 VTVT, 1.6 VTVT, 1.6 SX, 1.6 SX(O) and 1.6 SX(O) AT with a price range of Rs. 6.99 lakh – Rs 9.69 lakh. The Verna diesel variants include 1.4 CRDi, 1.6 CRDi, 1.6 CRDi SX, 1.6 CRDi SX(O) and 1.6 CRDi SX(O) AT with a price range of Rs. 8.09 lakh – Rs 10.89 lakh.
The Verna is a feature loaded cars and trumps most of the competition when it comes to features and gadgets. This along with its aggressive styling could have been the primary reason for its success. The Verna has sold an average of 4393 cars a month between May and November, with total sales crossing 30,700 units in these seven months.
While the above cars are the ones that managed to make an impact in the market, some other sedan launches didn’t quite get the desired effect and were not really able to capture the market the way their respective companies would have liked them too.
Among cars above Rs. 10 lakh, the facelifted Corolla Altis launched in June 2011 has done pretty well for itself, but still not in the way the company would have wanted it to. Toyota sold 4,754 units of Altis during June – November 2011 and the average sales per month stood at 792 units per month. Before the facelift version was launched, Toyota sold 3,623 units of Altis during January – June 2011 at average sales of 724 units per month.
The insignificant others
Other significant launches this year included the Global Ford Fiesta, Nissan Sunny, Skoda Rapid, Volkswagen Jetta, and Renault Fluence. Ford sold 3,061 units of Fiesta during July – November 2011 and the average sales stood at 765 units per month, definitely no where near its competitors numbers. The Sunny has had a reasonable start with Nissan selling 3,130 units of Sunny in the past two-and-a-half months, an average of 765 units per month. The newly launched Skoda Rapid sold 957 cars in its first month. The Volkswagen Jetta has been selling an average of 368 units per month, while Renault’s Fluence sells an average of just 124 units per month.