Within months of Maruti's entry in the fast-growing compact sports utility vehicle segment, the company's compact SUV Vitara Brezza has become the highest selling vehicle among all the SUVs and compact SUVs combined, beating Hyundai's Creta by a thin margin. While Hyundai sold 7,057 units of Creta in May, Maruti sold 7,193 units of Vitara Brezza.
Launched in March, Brezza has an average waiting time of over 20 weeks, which makes it highly possible that it will be able to maintain its leadership in the coming months.
The customers booking the top variant of the model, the ZDI and ZDI+ are being informed at dealerships that they will have to wait for up to 35 weeks. While the company has already sold around 20,000 units of the new model, it has a queue of 46,000 bookings yet to be served. On the other hand, Hyundai Creta has seen its waiting period drop to around six weeks. A few months after its launch, Hyundai's Creta had seen a surging demand with waiting period of over 20 weeks. The increasing competition in the overall SUV market is evident from the fact that after the launch of Vitara Brezza, Ford cut prices of its best selling compact SUV EcoSport by up to Rs 1.12 lakh. In 2014-15, EcoSport was the fourth largest selling utility vehicle with sales volumes of 52,000.
Japanese carmaker Honda too has entered the segment with the BR-V. Honda has now priced its new offering in a way that it stands out to be cheaper compared to the Creta as well as Duster when it comes to diesel variants and is priced in between the two leading models for the petrol variants.
The utility vehicle market has largely been dominated by M&M and its model Bolero has been the largest selling SUV for many years in a row. With the launch of Hyundai Creta in July 2015, Mahindra Bolero was dislodged from the position of the top selling SUV. Bolero again took over Creta in October 2015 only to lose the top position in January 2016.
Utility vehicles have become the preferred choice of many buyers in the urban markets which has turned the segment into a driving factor for passenger vehicle sales in recent months. While passenger car sales have remained muted in the past few months, utility vehicle sales have been growing at a strong rate.
Since January 2016, passenger car sales have declined in four of the five months, while utility vehicle sales have grown in excess of 20% in four of the five months. In May, passenger car sales declined 0.86% while utility vehicle sales jumped 36%.
In 2015-16, the utility vehicle segment saw a sales growth of 6.25% with a share of 21% in total passenger vehicle sales, which was at a similar level in the previous year. Hyundai increased its market share in the segment from less than 1% in 2014-15 to over 11% in 2015-16, with the share of utility vehicles in its total volumes going up to 13.4% in 2015-16 compared to a share of less than 1% in 2014-15. For Maruti Suzuki, the segment saw a growth of 38% in FY16, with its share in total sales volume going up from 5.8% in FY15 to 7.2.% in FY16. For market leader M&M, its share went up to 38% in FY16 from 37% in FY15.