The small car segment has always been Maruti Suzuki’s strength in India. The sheer volume of the Maruti Alto and WagonR models sold in the last decade highlights just how much of hold the company has in this price sensitive segment. However, the year 2016 didn’t quite start off well for the national’s largest passenger car maker.
In 2016, the Alto and Wagon R segment which is categorized by the company as “A-Mini” segment has posted negative sales growth in all the four months of 2016 (till April). The decline in January 2016 stood at 4.3% (34,206 units of the two models sold) compared to the same month last year. The Year-on-Year decline in February, March and April stood at 11.2%, 8.7% and 9.9% respectively. The consistency in the downward trend suggests that it would continue this way for the coming months as well.
Either the small car market as a whole is relatively weaker in 2016 than it used to in early 2015, or the highly successful Renault Kwid is gradually eating into Maruti’s market share. The latter is most likely to be the case. The French budget car’s crossover-like looks and best-in-class features have been a huge hit with first-time car buyers.
Maruti Suzuki is reportedly considering a crossover-like body style for the next gen Alto to fend off the Kwid and the soon-to-be-launched Datsun redi-Go.