India is primarily a small car country. Today, compact cars comprise around 70 per cent of the total cars sold in India. It is one of the fastest growing segments in the country where different auto majors competing for their pie with cars like 800, Alto and WagonR from Maruti Suzuki and Santro and Eon from Hyundai and Spark from General Motors.
Maruti Suzuki remains the market leader with the range of small cars catering to the middle class despite the international automobile majors entering in to small car segment making the competition intense.
Alto is the highest selling compact car in the country; the much awaited Tata Nano could not take over it in the race. It sales are much ahead of other small cars.
Any one of us may wonder what makes Maruti Suzuki the leader in the segment in a market with several models of cars and their variants. According to the company spokesperson,
“The Alto is one of the highest selling models not only in the country, but the entire world. The key reasons for its success would be the styling, packaging and most importantly the competitive pricing. The high mileage and low cost of spare parts has made the car a winner all the way.
“Some time back, the company also introduced Alto K-10. This model was powered by the K-Series engine, which gave the car that extra pep and power. This model too got a good response from our customer base. Together, these two cars have made Brand Alto even strong.”
Service network and fuel efficiency are one of the major factors that drives the sale of cars. “Safety standards and reliability is one of the important aspects which should not be ignored apart from quality and cost of ownership before buying a car,” said Venu Donepudi, managing director, CarZ.
Companies are also looking at diesel variants for the small cars as there is huge growth in sales in diesel cars last year.
Automobile majors around the world want to have their share in the growth story of compact cars.
According to the reports, though Maruti Suzuki continued to be the market leader with around 40 per cent share in the passenger vehicle segment, has lost around 10 per cent share over the years due to intense competition and with the production losses due to strikes at their plant. However, the company is targeting 50 per cent share again with launch of new cars in different segments and by maintaining the leadership in the compact cars.
The small car sales have fallen by seven per cent in 2011-2012, compared to previous fiscal. It is not because of the lack of interest among the buyers which affected the car sales but the macro economic conditions such as inflation, high interest rates and rising fuel prices.
However, with the inflation and fuel prices being stabilised the industry is optimistic that it will have positive growth.
Best selling mini-cars
- Maruti Suzuki Alto
- Maruti Suzuki Wagon R
- Hyundai Eon
- Tata Indica
- Tata Nano
Priorities to be looked at before buying a car
- After sales service
- Maintenance costs
- Resale value
- Style and Design
- Fuel consumption
- Cost of the Product