The world's major car makers are trying hard to gain a foothold in India's fast-growing passenger car market which grew at a scorching pace of over 10% in the first 9 months of 2016. In 2015, car sales set a record when they exceeded 2 million units for the first time. Despite the fact that major global carmakers such as Ford and Toyota have in the Indian market for over 20 years now, they still have not been able to unseat the undisputed market leader- Maruti Suzuki India Limited.
Despite tough competition from seasoned car makers, favorable regulations, ad years spent learning the Indian market, the sheer dominance of Maruti Suzuki is nothing short of baffling! This week's chart shows the market share of major car brands in India. As you can see, Maruti Suzuki leads its competitors by a country mile and holds almost half the market. Hyundai is the only seasoned foreign carmaker that poses any immediate threat to Maruti's dominance due to its impressive lineup of models at the lower end of the market. Hyundai first made its foray into India with its hit Santro in the mid-90s and has been the only foreign OEM to have consistently refreshed its now expansive portfolio of entry-level models.
In third place is another Indian manufacturer- Mahindra and Mahindra. Both Tata Motors and Mahindra, after making vehicles outside the passenger segment for decades entered the passenger segment aggressively in the late nineties. Their fortunes have diverged sharply over the past 5 years. While Tata has given up share to its competitors, Mahindra with solid offerings in the fast-growing compact SUV and MUV segments has gained considerable share. The top 3 players hold an incredible three-quarter of the Indian passenger vehicle market.
In the first couple months of the new year, carmakers will continue to woo the Indian customer with newer models- Maruti Suzuki launches the Ignis and Baleno, Tata its newest SUV offering the Hexa, Hyundai launches an i10 refresh and the new Eon, and Toyota launches the Prius refresh. It will be interesting to see if Maruti continues its strong run which has excited customers and shareholders alike.