Firms look to cash in on SUV popularity in festive season

Maruti Suzuki India, Hyundai Motor India, Mahindra & Mahindra, Toyota Kirloskar Motor and MG Motor India have either lined up fresh launches or will start the customer deliveries of new SUVs in a few weeks from now.

Firms look to cash in on SUV popularity in festive season

Automakers are looking to cash in on the popularity of sport utility vehicles (SUVs) by introducing a host of such models this festive season. Maruti Suzuki India, Hyundai Motor India, Mahindra & Mahindra, Toyota Kirloskar Motor and MG Motor India have either lined up fresh launches or will start the customer deliveries of new SUVs in a few weeks from now.

While Maruti launched the new Brezza compact SUV in June, it is now gearing up to bring the Grand Vitara mid-size SUV into the market. Hyundai will soon announce the prices of the Tucson premium SUV and commence its customer deliveries. The Korean carmaker had launched the new Venue compact SUV in June.

Mahindra will begin customer deliveries of the new Scorpio-N premium SUV towards the end of September. Within 30 minutes on Saturday, the vehicle garnered 100,000 bookings.Toyota will launch the Urban Cruiser Hyryder mid-size SUV this festive season. The Hyryder and Maruti’s Grand Vitara have been developed as part of the global alliance between Toyota Motor and Suzuki Motor . Both SUVs will be produced at the Toyota manufacturing facility in Bidadi, Karnataka, from August, while sales will commence in September.

MG will also launch the next-generation Hector premium SUV soon.From 26% in FY20, the SUV segment’s share in the overall passenger vehicle (PV) volumes increased to 40% in FY22, with entry-level SUVs making up 22%, mid-size 17% and premium 1%.

“The third quarter of every fiscal has seen higher sales of PVs, approximately 26-28% of total sales, as it coincides with the Indian festive period. Consequently, it has been observed that manufacturers try to align facelifts and model launches a few months before this period to take advantage of higher spending during the festive season,” said Pushan Sharma, director, Crisil Research.

Between FY10 and FY22, 37 models have been launched in the small car segment and 36 discontinued, while 87 utility vehicles have been introduced and 65 axed.Icra corporate rating vice president and sector head Rohan Kanwar Gupta said the growing popularity of SUVs in India is in line with the global trend, wherein SUVs have emerged as the vehicle of choice.

Accordingly, the automakers have taken notice of the shift in consumer preferences, and the segment is seeing increased model launches by various OEMs, to improve their market prospects, he added.“The festive season is normally associated with an improvement in retail offtake across automotive segments. The original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) thus tend to sometimes plan model launches during the festive season, with a view of benefitting from the buoyant sentiments,” Gupta said.Praxis Global Alliance partner Suman Jagdev said that OEMs run discounts, provide free accessories and furnish loan offers, among other benefits, during the festive season attracting large footfall at showrooms.

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