By Swaraj Baggonkar
Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) has overtaken Maruti Suzuki to to emerge as India’s second-largest player in the utility vehicles (UV) segment — one dominated by sports utility vehicles — closely trailing segment leader Tata Motors.
On the back of record demand for its completely revamped product portfolio that now includes Scorpio, XUV700, Bolero Neo and Thar, M&M’s UV sales surpassed that of Maruti Suzuki’s during the April-August period.
As per data shared by Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers, M&M clocked wholesale UV volumes of 132,790 units (growth of 68%) during the five-month period, while Maruti Suzuki sold 131,056 UVs (growth of 12%) during the same period.
Tata Motors sold 149,686 UVs during the April-August period. The Tata Group company grabbed the top position from Maruti Suzuki in the April-June quarter since it was able to manage the semiconductor availability challenges better than its peers.
Maruti Suzuki had been the leader of the UV space since FY18, largely because of the compact SUV Brezza. Prior to that, M&M was the leader in this space, but its market share slumped to a 10-year low in FY17.
With a renewed portfolio, both M&M and Maruti Suzuki are keen to boost production in the coming weeks. While M&M will announce its production enhancement plans in November, Maruti Suzuki is banking on incremental demand coming from its two recent launches.
Rajesh Jejurikar, executive director, auto and farm sectors, Mahindra & Mahindra, said, “We were doing sales of 18,000-19,000 a month, which have now been ramped up to nearly 30,000. For the further ramp-up, the investments we were making in capacity enhancement, we will put a schedule in November.”
M&M claims to have bookings in excess of 200,000 units, including more than 100,000 for the new Scorpio. In comparison, Maruti Suzuki has bookings for 167,000 units of the new Brezza and Grand Vitara, and is confident of regaining the top position by the close of this financial year.
Shashank Srivastava, senior executive officer, marketing and sales, Maruti Suzuki India, said, “Maruti Suzuki has been number one in the UV space since the last five years. This year, sales have been affected because of the discontinuation of S-Cross and the changeover to the new Brezza from the old Brezza. But this is not a trend. I believe that by the end of this financial year, Maruti Suzuki would be No. 1 in the UV segment.”
The company is ramping up production in a steady manner with the improved availability of semiconductors. However, output is yet to reach the optimum level and is hovering around 95%.