It’s September, nine months into the year and a time when carmakers are getting ready for the festive rush – a season that will conclusively decide who sold the most, and who didn’t. Let’s take stock just before that rush as to which are the top five best-selling mid-size sedans in 2012. There are some surprises!
This year there have been three new sedan launches between January and September in the Rs. 5 lakh to Rs. 10 lakh space – the new Maruti Dzire, the new Mahindra Verito and the Renault Scala. And yes, these cars have made a difference to the best-sellers list.
Maruti Swift Dzire
The Maruti Swift Dzire is by far the best-selling sedan (although a compact one) in the Rs. 5 lakh to Rs. 10 lakh price segment. The new Dzire was launched in early February and that has nearly doubled the sales of the car. Consider this, the Dzire sold only 65,511 cars in the January to August period of 2011, but this year, sales are at a staggering 1,01,612 units for the same period. If it weren’t for the plant strike and labor troubles at Maruti, sales numbers would have been at least 15,000 cars more, close to double last year’s sales. The Dzire has a waiting period of between six to eight months now, because of the production problems at Maruti. It comes in seven variants – four petrol and three diesel, and is a value-for-money entry-level sedan.
January to August 2011: 65,511 cars
January to August 2012: 1,01,612 cars
The second best-selling sedan in this period is a silent performer. You don’t notice them on the road, but the sheer number of these cars around lifts it up to second place – the Tata Indigo Manza and Indigo. Of course, most of the sales of the regular Indigo are mainly to commercial buyers, while with the Manza there are quite a few private buyers. The Indigo Manza comes with a 1.4 litre petrol engine and a 1.3 litre diesel engine churning out 90 bhp of power. The USP of this car is the space it offers, and is better as a chauffeur driven car. Sales have slipped a bit in the January 2012 to August 2012 period compared to last year, at 46,331 units against the previous year’s 49,028 units. But it has been fairly consistent with its numbers. A new variant is likely this festive season.
January to August 2011: 49,028 cars
January to August 2012: 46,331 cars
The Hyundai Verna changed the fortunes of this brand and the company when it was launched in May last year. The car has been consistently selling over 4,000 units ever since the launch of the fluidic Verna, even hitting 6,000 units briefly. Before the launch of the fluidic Verna, the older Verna was selling only about 1,500 cars a month on average. So much so, sales between January and August last year are at 22,836 units, while this year it’s nearly double that at 40,712 units. The Verna comes in about 11 variants including four engine choices – two petrol and two diesel, and automatic and manual transmission variants. What has worked in Hyundai’s favor is the features that the Verna offers compared to competitors – it has the most gizmos and safety features in its segment.
Jan to August 2011: 22,836 cars
Jan to August 2012: 40,712 cars
It’s the Toyota brand – and the fact that Toyota got in an excellent, fuel-efficient diesel engine to power the Etios that has pushed this car in to the top-five bestsellers list. The Etios when launched in December 2010 came only as a petrol variant, but in September 2011 the diesel Etios joined the line up. That has spiked sales for the Etios. Between January and August 2011, the Etios sold 27,568 units, but this year sales are up to 33,815 units. The Etios’ unique proposition is the space that it offers, as well as the perceived reliability of the Toyota brand.
January to August 2011: 27,568 cars
January to August 2012: 33,815 cars
The Nissan Sunny is a car that has displaced the Honda City to make an entry into the top-five bestsellers list. The Honda City’s failing was the lack of a diesel engine which has bogged down its sales, and that’s where the Nissan Sunny capitalized on the opportunity. The Sunny when launched in September last year came only with a petrol engine, but by January this year Nissan realized the opportunity in diesel as the gap between petrol and diesel prices kept increasing. The Sunny comes with a 1.5 litre diesel engine putting out 85 bhp of power and is extremely fuel efficient, as well as a 1.5 litre petrol engine. The selling point of this car is the huge amount of space it offers passengers inside and is one of the best cars to be chauffeured around in. This year, the Sunny has sold 23,348 units so far and will soon have a cousin or clone in the form of the Renault Scala joining it. Also read: India’s most comfortable mid-size sedans
January to August 2012: 23,348 cars
Last year’s best-sellers list included the Honda City and the Volkswagen Vento, but both cars have been pushed down the order. Honda City’s sales have fallen to 22,953 units in the January to August period compared to 27,583 units in the same timeframe last year. Similarly, Vento’s sales are down to 18,025 units compared to 23,420 units in the same period last year. Also read: Best sedans for the highway
Will upcoming launches like the Honda City CNG and the new Renault Scala shake things up further among budget sedans in the country? Next year should be interesting, once Honda gets a diesel engine to power its City, by the middle of the year.