Wednesday, July 20, 2011
By Pranjal Gera
The Battle of small cars
Maruti the undisputed champion of the small car’s in Indian market doesn’t face any threat even though loads of new competitors have come into existence and made their way into the competition. There has been a long list of entries made by various premium hatchback’s that made their way into the Indian market especially by some large auto marking companies namely Ford, Volkswagen, Toyota and then there is also an upcoming Honda Brio in the same segment.
Industry experts believe that the coming of various hatchbacks like the Toyota Liva launched last month and Honda’s Brio which is going to be released soon will add excitement to the market and only make the competition stiff for various hatchback manufacturing companies but it will take a long time for any of these company to challenge Maruti who has been the leading Seller of cars and also the most successful one in India’s market.
Maruti holds around 57 percent of the small car market in India with various cars’ ranging from Maruti Zen Estilo, Maruti Wagon R, alto Maruti Swift which makes it a huge mountain to climb for the other large automobile companies.
However it is true that hatchback’s like Volkswagen Polo which came out last year and For Ford Figo which also came out in march 2010 have done well in the market and so has Toyota Liva. Volkswagen has sold 39,405 units of the Polo and on the other hand Ford sold its 100,000th model and Liva expects to sell 20,000 units this year. But like the experts said it will be a difficult task even to cause a small damage to Maruti Suzuki in the near future.
V G Ramakrishnan, senior director, Frost & Sullivan says that the toughest competition in the market for Maruti Suzuki will be Toyota Liva but however the sales Liva is expecting this year is not even near to the amount Maruti Swift sells per year.
Sandeep Singh, deputy managing director, Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM) is very confident and believes that seeing the success of the Toyota Etios the Toyota Liva will do well in the market as well. He also said that they are increasing their capacity and are expecting to sell a huge amount of 100,000 units in 2012 of both Toyota Liva and Toyota Etios together which will increase their sales to 210,000 units from 140,000 units earlier. But the total sales made by Toyota are just about equal to what the Maruti Swift alone sold last year which gives Maruti a huge advantage.
Shashank Srivastava, chief general manger, MSIL concedes said that even though Liva gives good competition to petrol cars Swift and Ritz of Maruti are well established brands.
The premium hatchback segment is one of the fastest growing segment and has resulted in a escalation of 20 percent in 2011. Around 439,000 models were sold last year in this segment. Also there are now 14 models competing in this category where as in 2009 there were only 9 models battling it out.
Some of the popular hatchback models in the Indian auto market are Hyundai i10 and Chevrolet Beat. Apart from these popular models, cars going to hit the Indian roads this year are Chevrolet Beat Diesel, Maruti Cervo and Honda Brio.