It’s just been a month since the Mahindra KUV100 was launched, and the micro SUV is already taking the fight to B-Segment hatchbacks. Sales of the KUV100 are strong and many variants of the micro SUV are already seeing long waiting periods. Even as Mahindra is all set to boost production of this vehicle to meet the growing demand, we’ll take a look at whether the automaker’s strategy of weaning away B-Segment hatchback buyers towards micro SUVs is working.
January 2016 sales are out and it’s not an encouraging sign for the 2 biggest car makers in India, Maruti and Hyundai. Month-on-month sales for both automakers are down, and competition’s increasing. The sales drop is more surprising since January usually brings better tidings than December. Taking a closer look at who’s been gaining at Maruti and Hyundai’s expense, it’s Mahindra that’s actually done better. To be specific, the KUV100 has brought the Indian utility vehicle giant good numbers, and it’s at the expense of the Maruti Swift and the Hyundai Grand i1o.
While Mahindra dispatched 3,413 units of the KUV100 in January 2016, and is sitting on a hefty order book that’s getting fatter and fatter, the Grand i10 and Swift have lost sales. While the Hyundai hatchback registered a steep fall of 22 % to end up with 9,934 units, Swift sales have fallen by about 500 units, to 14,507 units in January. Adding the Grand i10 and Swift numbers gives us 3,306 units, which is nearly what the Mahindra KUV100 has sold in January. Moreover, the drop in Swift sales comes at a time when the Baleno (previously eating into Swift sales), has also lost numbers.
So, why is the KUV100 stealing sales from the Swift and Grand i10?
The KUV100 offers 6 seats compared to five on the Swift and Grand i10. This unique 3+3 seating layout is pushing a lot of buyers looking for a more spacious vehicle at a B-segment hatchback’s price point towards the Micro SUV.
Better street presence
The KUV100 is much taller than the Swift and the Grand i10, and is broader too. This gives the KUV100 better street presence, and the buyer gets a substantially larger looking vehicle for lesser money. That’s another big selling point.
The strength of the Mahindra brand
With the XUV500, Mahindra has proved to the world that it can make luxurious, well finished vehicles. The Mahindra brand is now strong not only in semi-urban and rural markets but also in urban markets. The KUV100 is one vehicle that’s benefiting from the improved brand image.
Petrol option now available
Dr. Pawan Goenka has revealed that 45 % of the KUV100’s sales is coming from the petrol variants, which means that Mahindra’s first, all-new petrol engine in the vehicle is a big hit. The automaker’s strategy to give the KUV both petrol and diesel engine options is turning out to be a master stroke.
Big value for money proposition
Variant to variant, the KUV100 is cheaper than both the Swift and the Grand i10. And the Mahindra micro SUV offers more space, features and safety options, and similar petrol and diesel engines for lesser money. In other words, it’s big-on-value, and the value conscious buyers seem to be taking note, and voting with their wallets.