Why the Toyota Fortuner just cannot be beaten?

The Toyota Fortuner is the leading SUV in terms of sales in the luxury SUV segment – SUVs priced above Rs. 20 lakh. The thing is, it leads by a huge margin – so huge that the total sales of all other SUVs in a single month is still equal to only about a fourth of the Toyota Fortuner’s sales!

That is huge. But why? If you look at the features that the Toyota Fortuner has, it is not the best in segment. If you look at the ride and handling of the Toyota Fortuner, it is still not the best in segment. If you look at the plushness and comfort of the Toyota Fortuner, it is still not the best in the segment. Yet, it outsells every single SUV in its segment, every single month.Toyota Fortuner 2.5 SUV with TRD Sportivo Kit

If you just look at the sales numbers (see table below), Toyota has sold 9,032 units of the Fortuner in the past six months. All the other SUVs put together – Mitsubishi Pajero Sport, Chevrolet Captiva, Ford Endeavour, Renault Koleos, Hyundai Santa Fe, Mahindra Rexton, Honda CR-V and Skoda Yeti – have sold only 2,353 units cumulatively. The Isuzu MU-7 sells in very limited numbers and has not been included.

SUV sales in India (6 months)

SUV sales chart


What makes the Toyota Fortuner sell?

The Toyota brand and its reputation for quality and reliability are the strongest factors in making the Toyota Fortuner such a huge sales success. That, and the fact that the Toyota Fortuner has what SUV buyers want – rugged looks and proven off-road credentials. In semi-urban and rural India, the SUV has been lapped up by politicians and landlords.

It is the vehicle of choice for VIPs and their entourage, given that it can seat seven and can handle anything the terrain can throw at it. Sales of the Fortuner increased dramatically after the introduction of the 4×2 variants a couple of years ago, including the 4×2 automatic variant, and the new 4×4 automatic too.

Can upcoming SUVs beat the Toyota Fortuner?

Of late, there have been an increasing number of queries about upcoming SUVs. Two in particular – the Chevrolet Trailblazer and the new Ford Endeavour. There’s also an upcoming Jeep Wrangler, but we’ll leave that out of the equation for now, as it isn’t really a seven or even a comfortable five seater.

Chevrolet TrailBlazer SUV Front

If there is one vehicle capable of taking the fight to the Toyota Fortuner from the upcoming lot of SUVs, it is the Chevrolet Trailblazer. This vehicle has a 2.8 litre diesel engine that puts out more power and torque (200 bhp / 500 Nm) than the Fortuner. It looks as rugged and butch as the Toyota Fortuner, but it is longer than the Fortuner, which means it should be able to seat seven in better comfort. Also read: Chevrolet Trailblazer – GM India’s next big launch

2015 Ford Endeavour SUV 21

The upcoming Ford Endeavour probably stands a better chance than General Motors as far as marketing and sales goes in challenging the Fortuner. The upcoming Ford Endeavour is loaded with features and has more power and space to offer than the Toyota Fortuner. It also has the benefit of being a recognized brand name in India. Also read: 2015 Ford Endeavour off-roading spyshots

However, we would like to revisit this story a year from now – to see if any SUV has been able to beat or at least challenge the Toyota Fortuner.

Sales figures: Industry data / Team-BHP