Maruti Dzire remains India’s No.1 selling sedan in March, as Vento and SX4 gain

The Maruti Swift Dzire continues to remain India’s largest-selling sedan, selling well over 10,000 units in March.

Maruti’s Dzire may not look very desirable to all for its design, but the sales figures speak otherwise.

The Maruti Dzire was introduced in 2008 to replace the Esteem, and has been a hit. Last March, the company swapped the 1.3 litre petrol engine for the K-Series 1.2 litre engine to meet BSIV emission norms, but the engine swap hardly affected sales. The diesel Dzire shares the same Fiat 1.3 multijet engine with the Swift, the Tata Indica Vista, and the Fiat Punto tuned to give out 75 bhp power.

The interesting battle among sedans actually focuses on the Volkswagen Vento and Maruti SX4 against the Honda City, which was the segment leader in the mid-size sedan segment. The Vento and SX4 have now managed to push the City down the rung. This is mainly because of the hike fuel prices, which has seen the demand for diesel sedans increase substantially. Maruti for instance introduced at diesel SX4 in February and saw sales spurt to 3,632 units last month from about 1,600 per month earlier. Also read: VW Vento review

Tata’s Indigo and Manza sales combined place it at the number two spot, because of higher off-take by the commercial sector. The Manza is seen as a great value-for-money diesel among personal car buyers, while the cheaper Indigo is a hit among taxi operators.

There are two surprises among sedans too. Two cars, which have been left for dead, are actually selling decent numbers. The Mahindra Logan chalked up over a 1,000 cars in March, while the Hyundai Accent, which is the oldest sedan in this list, sold close to 1,300 units in March.

Toyota is struggling with Etios deliveries, though it has got bookings of close to 17,000 cars, it managed to deliver only about 3,200 cars in March. The waiting period for an Etios is between three to five months now, depending on the city you are in. This huge order backlog has led Toyota to put off the launch of the Etios Liva hatchback to next year, and also defer launch of a diesel engine for the Etios.

The great demand for Toyota vehicles can be seen even in the mid-size segment, with the Altis winning the sales battle in March against the Chevrolet Cruz and the Honda Civic. A segment lower, the Hyundai Verna has been chalking up rather mediocre numbers at 489 units in March against the Ford Fiesta. Sales of Chevrolet’s mid-size sedans appear to be cooling as well, with the Optra selling only 270 units and Aveo scrapping through at just about 200 cars. Chevrolet may introduce a new Optra based on the Baojun 630 that is sold in China.

Skoda is another car company that has had steady sales of its sedans. The Laura is a decent contender in the midsize segment, selling 590 cars in March, with a good diesel engine and transmission combination. Skoda’s bugbear lies with its service network, with customers shying away due to high service costs and poor customer care.

With the introduction of the new Fiesta Classic, and the impending launches of the 2011 Ford Fiesta and new Hyundai Verna, the next couple of months should see quite a bit of action on the sales charts for Hyundai and Ford. Unless Toyota can pull a rabbit out of the hat, the Etios looks like it has a long way to go before it can catch up with the Maruti Dzire, though it already has the Manza in its sights.

March 2011 compact & mid-size sedan sales

Dzire 10278
Indigo 7197
Vento 3973
SX4 3632
Etios 3257
City 2773
Accent 1293
Fiesta 1228
Logan 1017
Altis 953
Cruz 834
Verna 489
Civic 379
Optra 270
Jetta 205
Aveo 198
Laura 590

Source: Team-BHP, Industry Data