Superb, Merc C-Class and BMW 3 series sold more than Honda Accord in March 2011
Diesel is a preferred fuel, even among premium mid-size sedans. The Skoda Superb dominates the segment, and for good reason. It provides immense value with the equipment it is loaded with and the excellent rear-seat legroom. Some of the features offered by the Superb rival the Mercedes E Class. In fact, features such as Automatic Park Assist, aren’t found on the E Class. Skoda sold 390 Superbs in March 2011, one of its best figures yet, up from 255 cars in February.
Of course, India’s fascination with the three-pointer star continues. It’s no surprise that the Mercedes C Class is the No. 2 best-seller in premium mid-size cars at 356, followed closely by the BMW 3 Series sedan at just over 300 cars. Mercedes overall had a great March month, selling 833 cars in total (all classes combined). Customers see immense value in the brand image that Mercedes and BMW hold, despite these two cars being among the most expensive in the segment.
Honda’s Accord saw a small drop in sales from February to 216 cars, after the initial excitement over the new design. The additional money customers pay for the Japanese quality is quite evident in the Accord’s premium pricing. And Honda has got the pulse of the market with just the right amount of bling on the Accord. Its rival the Toyota Camry, however, sells in limited numbers. It just hasn’t managed to capture the imagination of customers enough. Sales stay in two digit figures for the Camry, crawling up slightly from the previous month to 59 units.
Hyundai’s Sonata continues to languish with dismal sales in March of just 23 cars. This is despite the Sonata being the cheapest among all the premium mid-size cars. It could seriously do with an image makeover, which the soon to be launched new Sonata or i45 may be able to provide. Maruti has had a decent run with sales of the Kizashi crossing a 100 cars in March, just a month after launch. Given the fact that this is an import commanding a huge premium, the Kizashi is chalking up decent numbers unlike Maruti’s other foray into pricey vehicles – the Vitara.
Another car that is actually excellent in terms of equipment levels and interior space is the Nissan Teana, but it sells in very limited numbers. In March, only 11 Teanas were sold. Toyota’s Prius hasn’t been chalking up big numbers, remaining a niche vehicle. Its hybrid technology actually gives it the fuel efficiency of a hatchback, but very few buyers are willing to pay upwards of Rs. 27 lakh just to show their concern for the environment, as the Prius is much smaller in size than cars of an equivalent price.
With the Volkswagen Passat re-entering the market, there could be a small shakeup in the sales charts in the months to come.
March 2011 sales of premium mid-size sedans
|Mercedes C Class||356|
|BMW 3 Series||305|
Source: Team-BHP, Industry Data