2015 has been a busy year for the Indian automotive market. And now that it comes to an end and before another hectic one starts, we look at the new car launches that made it big this year and the ones that couldn’t be as successful.
The compact SUV segment did see a huge shift as soon as Hyundai introduced its contender in the market. The Creta didn’t just manage to offer a worthy alternative to vehicles like the Ford EcoSport, but with what’s easily the best looking interior, a decent range of engines, and not to forget the top spec diesel automatic, the Creta looks like a winner. The 7,000+ sales every month reinstates the vehicle’s success.
Honda couldn’t have afforded to offer a petrol-only Jazz this time around, and thankfully, they haven’t. With a economical yet powerful 1.5-litre diesel engine mated to a 5-speed gearbox, the Jazz’s audience has certainly become wider. It offers class-leading space, a decent interior (both in terms of design and fit), and of course, versatile seating. The car is also available with a 1.2-litre petrol engine and an optional CVT gearbox, complete with paddle shifters. The car started strong in the market but now seems to have settled for about 4-4.5k units per month.
Ford Figo Aspire
Based on the same platform as the Ford Figo hatchback but launched before it, the Ford Figo Aspire compact saloon is one of the most rounded products in the sub 4-metre segment. It looks good and the diesel engine is quite powerful, too. The car might not be as direct to drive as the erstwhile Figo (nor is the new Figo) but it’s a package you cannot ignore. Prices start at Rs 4.90 lakh, and the vehicle averages about 3.5k units every month.
Launched late in September, the Ford Figo eclipses the previous generation car in almost every aspect. It looks better, had a much better interior, and to top it all, gets more powerful engines, too. The downside is the slight lack of feel from the steering but considering everything that it does well, you’ll forget about that pretty quickly. Prices start at Rs 4.3 lakh, and with early sales at around the 3.5k mark, it’s certainly off to a promising start.
Unlike Mahindra’s previous attempts in the sub 4-metre segment, the TUV300 appears to be successful for the manufacturer. And it’s not just sales figures alone (almost 4.5k every month), the vehicle has received decent reviews from the press, too. The overly macho looks certainly add character to the vehicle, while the interior has been applauded for the kind of fit and finish that’s yet to become a standard among Mahindras.
Maruti Suzuki Baleno
Snatching the Swift’s crown is Maruti Suzuki’s recently introduced Baleno. Although more spacious than the Swift, it’s lighter by about a 100 kilos, is much better equipped, and with a starting price of just Rs 4.99 lakhs, it’s easily the most interesting car in the premium hatchback segment. MSIL sold 4,229 Balenos in October (keep in mind that the car was launched on October 26) and a little over 9,000 units in November.
Renault’s offering to the entry-level hatchback segment hasn’t just won hearts; the car is off to a great start. With a waiting period likely to touch the 10-month mark, Renault is reported to have sold 10,600 units of the Kwid in two months. There’s a huge interest for the vehicle from the market – something that’s evident with the almost 70k bookings the company has received already.
Top losers/Lacklustre performers
Maruti Suzuki S-Cross
While most crossovers have crossed the fine line between hatchbacks on stilts and pseudo SUVs and gone to the other side, the S-Cross proudly sits on it. It offers a great balance between being a hatchback and SUV, but benefits from powerful engines, big wheels, and good fit and finish. The vehicle’s sales although tell a different story as the S-Cross’ sales remain in the vicinity of 3-4k units every month.
Hyundai Verna 4S
Once a strong contender for the segment leader, the recently facelifted Verna hasn’t been able to recreate its magic. Mechanically the car remains unchanged, but it offers a pretty strong line-up of engines, and looks good too. Unfortunately the average sales of about 1,500-2,000 sales don’t do the vehicle any justice.
The Vista replacement did bring a lot to the table, apart from improved fit and finish, a new petrol engine, and better feature list. The Zest saloon might be doing a little better at above 2,000 average monthly sales (which is still far from being in the top 3 in the segment), the Bolt sadly lost it. The car has barely crossed the 1,000 monthly sales mark in the past seven months or so.