Competition or no competition, there are some cars that continue to sell by the lorry load, month after month, year after year. Superb reliability, great after sales and a utilitarian character are the enduring attributes about these cars, attributes that continue to push buyers towards them. Today, we’ll take a look at half a dozen such cars and SUVs.
The Maruti Alto twins continue to be the best selling entry level hatchbacks in India, much ahead of competition – read the newly-launched Renault Kwid, the Tata Nano and the Hyundai Eon. The Alto’s appeal lies not in design nor features offered but in simpler, more important attributes such as reliability, fuel efficiency, fantastic after sales service and great resale value. These attributes aren’t likely to be surpassed by other cars from other brands anytime soon, and the Alto is likely to regain its top perch for a few more years.
Maruti Suzuki Dzire
Over the last 3 years, no less than four new compact sedans have arrived into India. Yet, the Maruti Suzuki Dzire is only going from strength to strength. In fact, with the advent of competition, the sales of this sub-4 meter sedan only seem to get stronger. Strange, but true. Deconstructing the Dzire’s success, the car isn’t only appealing to personal car buyers, but is also a very strong seller in the cab segments. With Taxi hailing apps being the rage that they are, the Dzire finds itself as a top choice among Uber and Ola drivers.
Good monsoons mean that the Bolero does over 10,000 monthly units. A not-so-good monsoon nets 8,000 monthly units on an average. That’s the story of the Bolero, India’s best selling MUV, whose demand is particularly high in rural and semi-urban markets, which in other words is much of India. The Bolero’s appeal lies in its hardy Jeep CJ7 inspired design, a high torque turbo diesel engine that’s very frugal, and then you have very affordable spare parts and good reliability thrown in as cherries atop the cake.
Compact MPVs such as the Maruti Ertiga and the Honda Mobilio did little to upset the Toyota Innova’s applecart. The Toyota people mover continues to dominate sales in the Indian car market, with a mix of personal and taxi fleet owners opting for this MPV. The Innova is in a mild state of tune, and this gives its much touted reliability and low maintenance levels. A trouble free vehicle, people buy the Innova for the sheer peace of mind it is known to offer. The Renault Lodgy, which matched and better the Innova in many aspects, including a lower price tag, couldn’t do much. That explains the cult of the Innova.
The Scorpio has been one of Mahindra’s most enduring successes, second only to the Bolero. Like the latter, the Scorpio finds big acceptance in semi-urban and rural markets. Mahindra’s cleverness is one big reason. The no-frills Scorpio S2 is competitively priced, and pulls big sales from the hinterland. Mahindra has done what Apple failed to do in India. While Apple couldn’t sell the iPhone 5C, Mahindra piggybacked on the Scorpio brand to bring in good numbers for the Scorpio S2. That’s how a winning brand can be packaged to bring in more sales.
The Toyota Fortuner is a legend in its segment. From the day it was launched, over 5 years ago, the Fortuner continues to outsell every other luxury sUV in its segment, and sales show no sign of slowing down. Tellingly, the monthly sales of the Fortuner is more than the sales of all luxury SUVs put together. The Toyota brand is just one of the many reasons that has propelled the T-Fort all along. Reliability, butch looks, a massive form factor and terrific resale value are others. Remember, the Fortuner is a Hilux under the skin.