Honda Civic continues to defy SUV onslaught with sales growth and here’s why

When everyone is ditching comfortable hatchbacks and sedans in favour of SUVs, the Honda Civic has been helping keep the segment alive. Here is how.

By:Updated: November 20, 2019 1:59:29 PM

As everyone begins favouring SUVs and anything that remotely resembles an SUV, the humble discreet sedans are being sent into oblivion. In India, while there are quite a few sedans offered by most manufacturers, the sales charts show that the demand for them is dwindling. If you look at the D segment only four models are being offered and all cumulatively barely sell in thousands in a month.

In the festive month of October 2019, the wholesale numbers show, 90 units of the Toyota Corolla were sold, while the Hyundai managed to sell just 59 units of the Elantra. But when it comes to the Honda Civic and the Skoda Octavia, the numbers seem marginally better. Skoda sold 231 units of the Octavia while Honda with the Civic is the segment leader with 436 units sold.

The segment itself may not have had many players in the first place, with the Chevrolet Cruze being discontinued as GM pulled out of the Indian market and Volkswagen discontinuing the Jetta from their range. But there was a point in time in the history of Indian automotive world that this segment of cars were highly coveted.

Instead, buyers, these days are opting for jacked-up hatchbacks, or vehicles designed to resembles SUVs, and that market has seen exponential growth. This has eaten into the market share of sedans in India to numbers that show that they barely even exist.

However, there seems to be some light at the end of the tunnel for the D segment sedan as it seems to have shown some growth in the recent time, especially when the Indian auto sector is witnessing its worst period in demand ever.

Between the period of April-October 2019, cumulative sales for the sedan segment stood at 4,763 units registering a growth of 9.5% when compares to the same period from last year which saw sales of 4,350 units. The Civic with its modern aggressive styling and a well-packaged product, along with being branded as a driver’s car has been spearheading this growth for the segment as it alone has been growth by 30% month on month since September 2019 and currently in October 2019, the Civic stood at a market share of 53% in the segment. Both the over industry reporting in red, sales of SUV’s despite their popularity has seen a decline.

Rajesh Goel, Senior Vice President and Director – Sales and Marketing, Honda Cars India Ltd said, “The comeback of the Civic this year has given the much-needed boost to the executive sedan segment and its one of the few segments which have grown despite the current market slowdown. This reaffirms our confidence in the sedan category that there are customers who prefer sedans for their stylish looks and superb driving dynamics. We are thankful to our esteemed customers who have reaffirmed their love for Civic and helped it lead the segment sales.”

While the volumes may be different, the growth trend can also be seen with the Toyota Corolla. However, with the Elantra, it seems to be too soon to call as the model has just been updated and is only offered with a petrol variant. But when it comes to the Skoda Octavia, the demand for the model stands between the 150-250 units ballpark, month on month.

If we compare these number to SUV’s the gap is exponential. But at a time when the industry is going through a tough period, the marginal month on month growth shows that there are some people who still desire sedans, but only if they are packaged right and priced reasonably. SO sedans may not be dead entirely just yet.

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