For any automaker, no matter how big or small, making a grand entry in the unforgiving Indian auto market right in the middle of a pronounced slowdown would be a mighty challenge. The timing simply isn’t optimal and yet, newcomers MG Motor and Kia stunned everybody with extremely successful opening innings.
The Kia Seltos is currently sitting at over 75,000 orders while the MG Hector garnered itself over 36,000 bookings (would have been higher had the company didn’t suspend bookings temporarily). Both the premium crossovers cater to the same segment where the existing models like Hyundai Creta, Mahindra XUV500 and Jeep Compass couldn’t brave the slowdown.
So, what empowered these cars to defy the prolonged slowdown which is troubling pretty much every passenger car? Is it the novelty factor associated with new brands (fresh appeal) or is it the ultra modern connectivity features and gadgets on offer? Well, either way their success in our market qualifies to be an interesting case study for sales and marketing professionals.
Both MG and Kia are currently working intensely on maximizing their production capacity (only constraint on sales volume right now) to reduce the waiting time. Apart from these two, there is another car which has managed to defy slowdown. Together, these three cars have over 1.6 lakh bookings.
One segment below, the Hyundai Venue has also been having a stellar run. The sub-4m crossover debuted a fresh styling language and brought to table best-in-class connectivity features (its USP). Hyundai has managed to dispatch over 42,000 units out of over 75,000 orders. This means, subject to availability of production capacity, the Venue has outsold the erstwhile segment leader Maruti Vitara Brezza, for the period from May 2019 to Sep 2019.
The Indian mass market SUV segment (models from luxury brands are excluded) currently has 30 models on sale. While most of them have been suffering from dwindling sales for the last several months, these three aforementioned crossovers managed to rescue the segment from negative growth in September 2019.
The combined sales of Kia Seltos, MG Hector and Hyundai Venue accounted for over 30% of volume of the entire SUV segment last month. That’s a clear evidence that the trio clearly has been making huge positive impact on the market. It would be interesting to see if the incumbent rivals can fight back once the slowdown levels off and the market picks up pace.