In this article, we will discuss the following points:
- How are SUVs dominating the Indian automobile market?
- A decline of 11 sedans to 4 sedans in the past 5 years (2015 – 2020).
- How does the future of sedans in India look like?
The Beginning of SUVs Domination
Toyota India had launched Fortuner back in August 2009. Toyota Fortuner was launched at an introductory price of Rs 18 Lakh to capture 50% of the market share of SUVs in India. Fortuner brought a huge disruption in the premium sedan and SUV segment. Even after 11 years, it is one of the best leading SUVs in the market. D-segment sedans started to lose their demand due to the increasing popularity of SUVs as well as premium SUVs.
Before Toyota Fortuner disrupted the SUV segment, there was a huge gap in the SUV segment and very few challenges were faced by D-Segment sedans from the price aspect. Ford Endeavour was also doing quite well but it didn’t interfere in the luxury sedan segment.
Few Popular D-Segment Sedans
There was a time when D-segment sedans were at their peak in India both in terms of demand and popularity. There was a huge demand for luxurious sedans. It had a niche of its own. Its target audience comprised of people looking for status symbols at affordable prices. Hence, this was the time when the emergence of the Toyota Corolla, Skoda Octavia, Hyundai Sonata, and Honda Accord took place. These sedans were well-accepted and admired by the audiences.
Sedans that failed to impress the buyers and didn’t do well include:
- Opel Vectra
- Ford Mondeo
- Renault Fluence
- Maruti Suzuki Kizashi.
When BMW X1, priced at Rs 22 Lakh (ex-showroom) entered the market along with Audi Q3, priced at Rs 25 Lakh (ex-showroom), overnight the game changed altogether. Very quickly the premium badges came out stronger considering the price, creating a wide network in the Indian market, and ensuring after-sales services. Eventually, the demand for premium SUVs and enter-level luxury cars came into power due to which unfortunately the D-Segment Sedans started to lose their space.
Comparing the Present Scenario With the 2015 Year
In 2015, there were 11 D-segment sedan for sale and in the year 2021, there are only 4 sedans left such as Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra, Skoda Superb and Toyota Camry. Skoda Octavia has also been discontinued from the Indian market. In the past 5 years, the SUV segment market share has increased to 24% which used to be 9% in 2015. Sedans (compact sedans and c-segment sedans) were at their peak in 2015 with the highest market share of 26% in India which has now declined to 15%.
Two Factors Responsible For the Sedans’ Slowdown
- Huge Demand for SUVs
- Competitive Pricing
Now, looking at car buyers’ inclination towards SUVs and compact SUVs, the future of D-segment sedan in India looks little questionable. No doubt, the automobile manufacturers like Skoda are putting in efforts to remarkably improve the sedan ownership experience of the car buyers, but the buyer sentiments at the present feel more inclined towards the utility vehicles.
The car makers have not been able to justify the high declination of sedan demands and also the premium sedans that are sourced through CKD and CBU have not been value for money enough in the recent years as compared to the available utility vehicles.
The new generation Skoda Octavia is supposed to launch later in 2021 and Skoda is doing decent work with the sales of Skoda Superb and it has also got a facelift version which is a great upgrade. Let’s hope that the consistent improvements in the currently available sedans may revive the segment.