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Executive sedans slow down to a crawl in the New Year

February 06, 2017, 11:41 AM IST by Vikrant Singh
Executive sedans slow down to a crawl in the New Year

Nothing new here. Since the advent of SUVs, sedans have taken a back seat. But, the segment that has been the worst hit, is the executive or the D-Segment sedan. This, after is has some big hitting names in its fold. There’s the global favourite Toyota Corolla, the enthusiast-centric Skoda Octavia, the diesel powerhouse Chevrolet Cruze, and the latest feature-rich kid, the Hyundai Elantra. We have also had the Volkswagen Jetta in this class before, but with its sales down to zero in January, it’s clear, no one is missing this one.

Just to bring you up to speed, none of the D-Segment sedans managed to cross even the 200 units a month mark in January 2017. The Elantra with 184 units was the highest selling, followed by the Cruze at 171 units, the Octavia at 164 units, the Corolla at 153 units and the Renault Fluence at a dismally low 4 units. And it’s not for the lack of trying, mind. Okay, in the case of the Corolla and the Octavia, and of course, the Fluence, there’s no real muscle being thrown behind the brands, but Hyundai and Chevrolet have been doing their bit to keep their respective cars in the limelight.

But, here’s the shocker. Not every SUV in this price bracket is making a killing either. There are around 10 SUVs one can buy in the same class but only one is truly raking in the numbers – the Hyundai Creta. In January 2017, it sold almost 8,000 units. The next highest-selling SUV was the Mahindra Scorpio with sales of just under 4,500 units. But ask any D-Segment prospect, and the Scorpio would never turn up on his/her radar.

It’s the XUV500 that they’d consider instead. And the sales for the XUV aren’t anything to write home about either. Sure, at 2,144 units it outsells the Elantra by a factor great than 11, but in sheer number terms, it isn’t outstanding by any stretch. As for the remaining lot of SUVs including likes of the Dusters, the BR-Vs, the Terranos, and even the Stormes and the Hexas, their numbers are worse still. But, amongst all this SUV talk, there’s one MUV that continues to make hay while the D-Segment sun don’t shine, the Toyota Innova.

The Innova sales have been on the rise and its profitability is higher still. So, while the Creta’s numbers are coming from both the C- and D-segment sedan classes, the Innova is eating off the latter share without protest. And the key to its success, as many Innova owners will tell you, is the balance it offers between comfort and practicality, and of course, the bulletproof reliability it has earned over the years.

It’s something many SUVs will continue to struggle with, let alone beat. As for our D-Segment sedans, well, as months go by, that stare into oblivion will only get more serious.

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