I have always been curious about the mass of information available in Auto magazines and the Internet on the various vehicle brands, models, variants, body-styles and price segments currently available in India. I realized there was a lot of reference material available but nothing consolidated in one place. So I went about collecting as much as I could. So here it goes- My study on new vehicle types currently available for a buyer in the Indian market and primarily focused on Chennai. Most prices used are Chennai ex-showroom prices with some vehicles using a Mumbai price. I spent some time trying to categorize the vehicles by their price brackets and found it wasn’t easy to do but here’s my shot at it.
I call the various groups “segments” just to minimize confusion and they start at A with the cheapest and smallest vehicles with the least number of features and move through B, C and D where the cost , size and feature list increases.Beyond a price of 25 Lakhs I have called the segment as a “Z” segment which comprises the true luxury vehicles available in India.
The ASegment starts off currently with the Maruti 800 – but soon I will have to update it with the Tata Nano.
This grouping will be used all through my subsequent posts. Have a look at the following graph for the starting price points for the various segments and a more detailed sub section as well.
While collecting details of the prices, I also managed to collect details of the brands available in India and the number of models they sell and in turn the number of variants these models have. Here is a summary of it.
Of the Original Equipment Manufacturers(OEMs), the ones that stand out are Maruti Suzuki, Tata Motors and Hyundai. Maruti makes a total of 12 models for which it sells a total of 52 variants (in trim levels and fuel options of the basic 12 models) and is the leader in volume of sales per year currently. The last number I remember reading was around 770,000 units in total for 2008. Tata follows, a distant second in sales volume but with a very similar strategy. It makes 10 models and sells 59 variants of the basic 10. Hyundai comes third in the volume race and makes 8 models with 35 variants. Mahindra which is the fourth in volume makes only 4 basic consumer models with 23 variants.
Is there a secret to Maruti’s success? I think I understand the volumes when I chart out the segments Maruti has model variants in the following chart.
Maruti has its focus on the A (14 variants) and B (24 variants) segments primarily and only a minimal concentration on the C (12 variants) & D (2 variants) segments.
Tata focuses currently on the B (27 variants) and C (27 variants) segments mainly with minimal concentration on the A (2 variants) & D(3 variants) segments. Tata is all set to change that with the launch of the Nano. It will add one model with 3 variants this year and may very well win the sales volume title as soon as it is able to get Nano production on at full capacity.
Other brands currently available in India include Audi, Bentley ,BMW, Fiat, Ford, GM (Chevrolet),Hindustan Motors, Honda, ICML( makes the Rhino), Mahindra Renault, Mercedes Benz, Mitsubishi, Porsche, Reva, Rolls Royce, Skoda, Volvo and VW.
What is the overall strategy of the industry by segment?
It is very interesting to see that there are more models in the B and C segments than the A & D segments. Also, the point to remember is that the Z segment is a catch-all for everything priced over Rs. 25 L so the number of models available seem reasonable.
Even though there are the various price points, one factor that came out very clear was that the Sedan body style is still King with the largest number of models available. The hatchback of course is putting up a good fight to the SUV body style in the overall number of models available.
The data of body styles of vehicle models available when looked at by segment adds more light to the buying mentality. The Hatchback style leads in the A and B segments.
For the C, D and Z segments the Sedan shape wins the model numbers race. The SUV which shows up only in the C segment increases in the number of available models through the D and Z segments till it is very close in number to the sedans.
The Bsegment has its own unique body style- the station wagon. Right now the only vehicle available is the Tata Indigo Marina. Previously we had the Fiat Adventure, Opel Corsa Swing and the Baleno Wagon but now none of these are still in production. The Skoda Fabia wagon is supposed to come out some time this year but will fall into the C segment.
The Csegment for uniqueness has the lifestyle pickup -the Tata Xenon and the Mahindra Scorpio Getaway. The Bolero Camper isnt marketed to the non-commercial market so it doesnt feature here.
The Z segment is the only segment where one gets to purchase limousines, coupes and convertibles. (Tata FYI – I do not consider the Indigo XL as a limo however much your adverts want everyone to!)
Petrol vehicles, by far, seem to be the most popular type sold in India, at least going by what is available in the market. Diesel follows a distant second. The only other options available are the electric and Petrol /LPG ones which don’t constitute many variants. CNG hasn’t shown up in my data since this is primarily Chennai focused and also CNG is not available across India.
The same data has been split and studied by segment. It shows that currently there are no diesel vehicles available in the A segment. The cost-conscious buyers of the A & B segment who cannot afford the diesels go in for the Petrol/LPG versions. Diesel shows up only in the B segment. A clear bias of C segment buyers towards Diesel is indicated by the fact that more C segment variants are diesel vehicles than petrol ones. D segment buyers have an almost equal choice of Diesel and Petrol. Z segment buyers don’t seem to care one way or another about fuel bills and this shows very clearly by having most vehicles sold in this category being petrol ones.
Just to keep this post short (kind of) I will stop here. In a following post I will be getting into the details of the comfort, safety and other features available and some details about various transmissions and unique features available in the Indian market.
Please do reach out to me through the comments, if there are any clarifications.