Sales trends of December 2021 show the rise of a new bunch of compact and entry-level utility vehicles such as the Nissan Magnite, MG Astor, Tata Punch, Skoda Kushaq and Volkswagen Taigun, at the cost of older models like Hyundai Creta, Kia Seltos, Kia Sonet, MG Hector, Tata Punch and Hyundai Venue.
Two exceptions to the rule are Tata Nexon and Toyota Innova Crysta, both of which continued to go from strength to strength, and recorded sharp increases in their sales in December 2021 compared to the same month of 2020.
HYUNDAI AND KIA
It was, however, a forgettable month for Korean car makers Hyundai and Kia.
Both of Hyundai’s models in the below-20-lakh UV category, the compact UV Venue and basic UV Creta, saw sharp declines in sales.
Creta’s December sales fell by a whopping 28% to 7,609 units during the month, from 10,592 in December last year.
Similarly, Venue sales fell 16% to 10,360 units in December this year from 12,313 units last year.
Interestingly, both these models had been having a good 2021, with Creta sales up 7% at around 88,000 units during the eight months from April to December. Similarly, Venue sales were up 25% during the same period at around 74,200 units.
It was no different for Kia Motors — a company that is one-third owned by Hyundai, and one which has had a tremendous impact on the Indian market since its entry in the UV market a couple of years ago.
Sales of Kia Seltos, which competes with Creta in the basic UV market, also saw a 28% fall in sales to 4,012 units in the final month of 2021, while Kia Sonet, which competes with Venue in the compact UV segment, saw sales dip 40% to 3,578 units.
Like the Hyundai models, both had been having a strong 2021, and despite the latest declines, are still strongly in the positive territory as far as Apr-Dec sales trends are concerned.
While the exact reason for the dip in sales is not known, it may have something to do with semiconductor shortage, or to the launch of new models in the market.
On the gaining side of the UV market in December were models such as Nissan Magnite — introduced in mid 2021 — which racked up sales of over 2,000 units during the month, and MG Astor, launched in October, which notched up sales of 1,125 units.
Tata Punch, also launched in October, sold around 8,000 units during the month.
Among the pre-existing models, Tata Nexon was among the best performers among utility vehicles with sales of over 12,000 units during December, making it one of the best performers in the entire passenger vehicle category.
Even the venerable Innova Crysta saw a sharp 44% jump in sales during December to 3,989 units from 2,764 sold in December last year. This, however, may have had something to do with the renewed demand for fleet cars after the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions. Crysta sales have nearly doubled in the Apr-Dec period to 39,550 from 22,234 in the same period of 2020.
Another strong performer in the basic UV segment was Maruti Suzuki, which has two models — Ertiga and S-Cross — in this category.
These two models saw a 29% increase in sales to 13,361 during December 2021 compared to the year-ago, even though December was a disappointing year for Maruti Suzuki as a whole. For Apr-Dec, sales were up 40%.
However, Maruti Suzuki’s numbers were not as impressive in the compact UV category, where it has models such as Vitara Brezza and Gypsy. Here, sales fell 22% in December to 9,531 for India’s largest car maker.