The craze for SUVs is currently so great that wait times for some of the most popular models are over two years, and new orders are still coming in.
Car buyers are now willing to spend more on their personal way of traveling and prefer top variants that are packed with features such as sunroof and connected technologies.
In a market where hatchbacks used to dominated the sales charts, it is the entry-level and mid-sized SUVs that are gaining in popularity, leading to more product launches in the segment.
“The SUV segment has seen great growth in recent years. The contribution of the SUV segment, which was about 19 percent of the industry, has now increased to 40 percent in 2021-22 and we see it growing further,”
Senior Executive Director (Sales and Marketing) Shashank Srivastava told PTI.
One of the reasons for the growth of this segment is customers’ preference for vehicles with a high attitude and good view of the road, he added.
As demand increased, the entry-level SUV segment became the largest in the domestic passenger car market in the past fiscal year.
Out of the 30.68 lakh volumes last year, the share of entry-level SUVs was 6.52 lakh units.
It’s also no surprise that the maximum model launched in the entire passenger car segment in the last five years has been in the compact and mid-sized SUV space.
“Also, the millennials of the new era prefer high-end variants equipped with various comfort and convenience features. The preference for cars with many features has increased from 17 percent in 2016-17 to 24 percent in 2021-22. In some of our models, such as the recently unveiled Breeza, the top variants account for 70 percent of bookings,” Srivastava noted.
Studies show that spending would now increase further and people are willing to spend more, he said.
Passenger Vehicles Managing Director Shailesh Chandra said differentiated design, changing lifestyles, shift from public to personal transportation due to the pandemic, growing awareness of safety and convenience features among others are some of the factors driving passenger car growth. market.
“Customers today know exactly what they want and we are constantly striving to offer them the same through our range, which is updated at short intervals, be it features, variants or brand new products,” he stated.
Chandra said the company’s strong comeback in FY21, regaining third position in terms of volumes and being a challenger brand, has led to it unleashing the full potential of a new line of cars and SUVs, which are developed after in-depth study of the market and understanding of changing customer needs.
Kia India Chief Sales Officer Myung-sik Sohn said the increasing demand for SUVs among Indian customers clearly shows a strong preference for bold, stylish, tall-bodied vehicles.
“We launched the Carens earlier this year and have already sold more than 30,000 units in less than five months,” he added.
Another trend the company is seeing is that more and more customers are buying the top variants of cars, Sohn noted. “In fact, 47 percent of the total Kias sold in India is top-of-the-line and this shows that customers today demand nothing but the best.”
Connected features are something customers want in their cars these days and Kia now has more than two lakh connected cars on Indian roads with a 97 percent activation rate, Sohn said.
Furthermore, the modern digitally savvy customer is increasingly looking for the whole experience of owning a car with minimal physical contact, he added.
Motor Associate Vice President (Sales and Strategic Marketing) Atul Sood said the rapid pace of urbanization and economic development is contributing to the demand for SUVs.
There are already quite a number of models available in the segment to meet demand, making SUVs one of the strongest lineups on the car market today, he emphasized.
Sood noted that new launches and product updates always bring excitement and extra interest to customers.
“At Toyota, we’ve had an overwhelming response to all of our new offerings, including the new Camry Hybrid and the new Glanza,” he said.