Hatchback: New launches and their fates in FY14
In the financial year 2013-14, the over all sentiment of the automobile remained subdued and the hatchback segment declined by 5.93 percent in at 1248555 units compared to 1327255 units in the previous fiscal. Maruti Suzuki’s Alto and Swift rema...
Maruti Suzuki’s Alto and Swift remain the highest selling hatchbacks in FY14 at 258281 and 198571 units respectively. However, the sales of Alto declined 3.1 percent in FY14 compared to previous fiscal year while Swift’s sales gone up by 7.4 percent in the same period.
-Grand i10 outsold i10 & i20 in just six months of launch in FY14
-Alto's sales declined 3.1% while Swift's sales gone up by 7.4% in FY14 over FY13
-2072 units of Datsun Go sold against 50,000 inquiries
- Wagon R & Stingray joint sales is 156369 in FY14 compared to 135694 units FY13 when only Wagon R was there
ETAuto reviews the potentiality of the products in the hatchback category which impressed the customers while what led to the disappoint for some other products.
In this segment Hyundai, Maruti Suzuki, Mahindra & Mahindra and Datsun fielded their new products – Grand i10, Celerio, Wagon R StingRay, Verito Vibe and Go respectively.
“In the hatchback segment, success of the products depends on the customers’ assessment of the five major factors - pricing, fuel efficiency, space, durability and looks of the products are critical element in hatchback category,” said, Abdul Majeed, Partner Automotive Practices, Price Waterhouse.
Maruti Celerio: Maruti Celerio launched in Auto Expo 2014 in February has emerged as one of the hits of FY14 with over 22000 bookings within 30 days of launch with booking period extending to almost one year. Till the end of March 2014 16143 units of Celerio has been sold. The car is probably the first hatch equipped with a low-cost substitute for automatic transmission- Automatic Manual Transmission.
The ever increasing bumper to bumper traffic in Indian roads made this car an instant success among learners; first time buyers and female drivers. The car being clutchless and gearless offers much comfort to the drivers.
Celerio powered with 1000 cc engine claims impressive 23.1 kmpl of fuel efficiency and is priced at Rs. 3.89- 4.81 lakh. The car available in six variants comprising of four manual transmission variants and two AMT variants with only petrol fuel type models is pitted against Hyundai i10, Tata Indica and Chevrolet Beat.
“The credit for the success of Celerio’s goes to its clutchless AMT technology at a relatively low-cost. This attracted the city users,” pointed Kumar Kandaswami, Senior Director, Deloitte.
As the price gap between petrol and diesel has contracted, Celerio’s single fuel offering has come positively for the manufacturers. According to the company, the car has 35000 booking till April 10, out which 49 percent is gearless variant and 50 percent of buyers of AMT variant are their second time buyers.
Hyundai Grand i10: Hyundai launched Grand i10 on 3rd September 2013 in price range of Rs.4.29-Rs.6.41 lakh (ex-showroom). The car created a new segment between its i10 and i20. The feature rich and better looking hatchback hits the customers’ minds who were ready to spend some extra bucks for higher features. Since launch 72,789 units of Grand i10 have been sold in wholesale.
When price was compared to Swift VXI variant and Hyundai Grand i10- Magna Petrol, the Grand i10 was Rs.50,000 cheaper than Swift. Grand i10 comes with two fuel type diesel and petrol powered with 1.1 litre 2nd generation U2 diesel engines that gives 24 kilometer per litre (ARAI certified) and 1.2 litre petrol engine that can run 18.9 kilo meters in one litre. However, in terms of space, Swift offers a better deal.
Grand i10 is positioned between i10 and i20 and is targeted to young professionals of 25-35 age groups. According to the company the average monthly sales of the car is 9000.
“Grand i10 we are expecting to further enhance our sales this year,” said Rakesh Srivastava, Sr.Vice President, (Sales and Marketing), Hyundai Motor Ltd. “In the year 2013, Grand i10 became the top 5 selling brand in India within 2 months of its launch (August – Sept 2013). Grand i10 has been the most awarded and acclaimed model in the year 2013 including the most prestigious ‘Indian Car of the year’ award. Hyundai has over 72,000 happy customers of Grand i10,” Srivastava said.
Maruti WagonR Stingray: Maruti Suzuki trying to fill the gap between Wagon R and Swift and Ritz launched Wangon R StingRay. But the product came out nothing but an overgrown Wagon R.
The car launched on 21st August 2013 has been priced between Rs 4.1-4.67 lakh (Ex-showroom) Rs 22000 higher than the Wagon R. It offered a good option for those who were looking for a little bigger car. So there was limited taker for it as it did not offer any other attraction in terms of design and feature.
While the heart of the Stingray remains the same as of Wagon R. It is powered with all aluminum K10B 998cc 3-cylinder 4-valve engine producing 68PS of power at 6,200rpm and 90 Nm of torque at 3,500rpm.
The WagonR Stingray also did not have the CNG and LPG fuel type variants as compared to the other sibling Wagon R. Wagon R’s one of the main selling point was its dual and CNG fuel options which the carmaker missed on in Stingray.
Going by four P’s strategy, the price of the product is exceptionally aggressive as anyone who is a buyer of Wagor R would surely want to upgrade to Stingray by adding Rs 22,000 but that always increases the chances of cannibalisation. Wagon R Stingray failed to create impression in the market with humble sales numbers.
Mahindra Verito Vibe: Utility Vehicle major Mahindra & Mahindra trying to re-enforce presence in the car segment, launched hatchback Verito Vibe in June 2013 priced in the range of Rs 5.63 – Rs 6.49. The car is built on its sedan sibling Verito platform borrowed from Renault JV product Logan with an investment of Rs 60 crore. With Vibe with three variants D2, D4, and D6, Verito having 1.5-litre dCi diesel engine having a peak power of 65PS at 4,000rpm and 160Nm of torque at 2,000rpm. Verito Vibe competes with best selling Maruti Swift, Reanult Pulse, Nissan Micra and Hyundai’s grand i10.
The cost of development for Verito Vibe might have very competitive as it has 80% common parts with its sister Verito Sedan. Only one fuel option is a miss for Mahindra as de regulation diesel prices has changed the consumer preference from diesel to petrol or CNG. Also consumers are more aware of the running cost of vehicle so there choice is not totally dependent on the fuel price. Being only diesel fuel option, the initial image of the car came out as a ‘pricey’ and failed to register in the minds of buyers. While the design and look of the car was also criticized.
The company sold only 5213 unist of Vibe since launch. In the similar price M&M sell its compact SUV –Quanto, which turns out to be a better deal looking a the current market trend.
Datsun Go: After a deliberate hiatus of three decades, Datsun brand re-incarnated with small car Go, trying to woo the young customers. While the brand’s yester year’s legacy will help catch the old customers fancy. Datsun Go is inspired by company’s a century old popular model DAT Go.
Under the hood it is powered by 1.2L three-cylinder petrol engine which is tuned to give a fair output of 67bhp and 106Nm of torque and is mated to five-speed manual transmission gearbox.
Go launched on March 19, 2014 is priced strategically between 3.12- 3.70 lakh enters in direct competition with Eon, Alto. However, the car offers much bigger space almost a segment, compared to its competition at the similar price. Eventually, at the mentioned price of Go offers a good value proposition for the new buyers who want to use it for the family.
According to company, within 10 days of the nation-wide launch, Nissan sold 2072 units and till now March 31st it received over 50,000 inquiries. However, it seem the humble quality of interior and not so impressive drivability, the car has not been able convert inquiries into sales.
The overall wheelbase of the Datsun GO is impressive at 2,450 mm while the length and width are 3,785 mm and 1,635 mm, the dimensions which again scores the highest in the segment making it the most spacious. The car despite its compact size can easily absorb five occupants.
If going by the size and space of the product go creates a segment where only Hyundai Santro which is a quite old segment so the buyer would see this as a potential alternative.