Report: True Picture of Indian Sedan Market

Kaustubh

Kaustubh Shinde, They say sooner or later your passion finds you. Sometime in late 2009, I started writing for IAB and ever since then it has been a roller coaster ride for me. An amazing experience that has taught me a lot, taken me to new places, driven some great cars and met some amazing people. When you don't find me on IAB (very rarely), you will find me either at a coffee shop or an eatery or at the nearest gadget store.Hope you enjoy IAB as much as we do!

Recently, we got you a report which revealed the true picture of the Indian hatchback market. Over the few days, we received a lot of emails from our regular viewers to do the same for the sedan market as well. So we made some hot coffee for ourselves and got cracking!

A little about the comparo

The comparo is based on exactly the same parameters as the hatchback one with the unit of measurement being Total Sales from September 2010 to February 2011.

One key difference is that the hatchback comparo only ranked the Top 20 hatchback; but because the sedan market encompasses a wider price and product range, we have increased the rankings to Top 25 for sedans. In order to limit the rankings, the comparo only ranks sedans from 4L – 22L.

Indian Sedan Comparo
Indian Sedan Comparo

Observations

The Indian Sedan market is not overpopulated like the hatchbacks one. Making matters worse, the Pareto’s principle is quite evident in the market because some sedans are doing exceptionally well whereas others are performing very average.

But unlike the hatchback market, where the Alto dominates by miles, the sedan market has no outright winner. Having said that, the sedan market (just like the hatchback market) is also dominated by MSIL. The DZire holds the number 1 position in the sedan market, closely followed by Tata’s Indigo.

Now let’s look at each segment in the sedan market and see what’s what.

Best Entry level: Maruti Suzuki Dzire

The boot-paste job on Swift may have been a point of criticism from the Auto community, but clearly it has worked wonders for MSIL. Only once (in a 6 month period) has the Dzire lost its top spot to Indigo. The picture becomes clearer when one realizes that the Indigo numbers combines all the Indigo variants like CS, XL, Manza etc

The almost dinosaurish Accent is winning the battle against Logan. The surprise of the segment is HM’s Ambassador which is still selling 400+ units every month. The Aveo is struggling hard in this segment. As of right now, it is very early to talk about the Toyota Etios.

The Ikon has packed its bags and said goodbye to the market. It will be interesting to see what shakedown can the Fiesta Classic bring to this segment

Best Mid-Size Sedan: Honda City

Honda’s City, so far, has out right dominance in this segment. It is even makes it to the podium as the 3rd best selling sedan in India. But over the months, the City’s sales numbers are falling drastically, whereas rival Volkswagen Vento is catching up fast. We believe that this fall is because of the lack of a diesel engine. All most all competitors in that segment have a diesel option under the hoods.

The SX4 is dominating the Fiesta and Verna (apart from 2 months) and now the availability of a diesel is only going to increase that gap.

The clear disappointments of this segment are Linea, Cedia and Optra. But whereas are latter 2 are old products, the Linea, despite of being a very good product, is massively suffering because of Fiat’s haywire strategy.

The RB sedan will certainly be a game changer for this segment if the pricing is right. The new Fiesta and Nissan Sunny are new additions to this segment this year so the Honda City better watch out.

Best D segment Sedan: Toyota Corolla

Toyota has its claws firm on this segment. The ‘Best selling nameplate in the world’ is also the best selling D segment sedan in India. With rumors circulating that the Toyota Corolla stepping down from its segment to C+ sedans, we can expect fireworks from Toyota.

The Civic has clearly lost its battle to the Cruze and the Laura. VW’s neglect on Jetta is clearly showing in its sales numbers. I guess VW wants to completely concentrate on hatchbacks and entry level sedans in India until the new Jetta is available in India later this year.

The Sonata also has lost in this segment. But the new Sonata (i45) will certainly be an interesting entry in the segment.

Also, with reports coming in that Renault wants to under cut the rivals by aggressively pricing the Fluence, we will have a keen eye on this segment.

Best D+ segment sedan: Skoda Superb

The Superb has certainly stood up to its name in this segment by outselling the Honda Accord. Toyota’s lack of commitment to this market is quite evident in the Camry’s sales figures. The Passat and Teana fail to grab attention as well.

The new boy Kizashi will bring an interesting perspective in the months to come.

Conclusion

The sedan segment is sure to see some really good action in the coming months. With the arrival of Peugeot and Proton, we can expect a few new products to choose from. Maruti’s plans of bring in a DZire CS will also create a stir in the market.

However, one by one, Honda is losing its domination in the respective segments. It is quite evident that minor facelifts and value adds to the existing products are not really working in the market. I think it is high time for Honda to wake up and smell the coffee before it is too late.

What do you think about the sedan Market? We would love to hear all about your thoughts, suggestions and expectations.

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