August has been a tough month for the entire nation with heavy monsoons resulting in floods or flood-like situations in many areas. While now it is Nagaland which is in dire need of help, August saw some parts of the North East being battered and of course the Kerala floods.
Naturally, car sales have taken a dip for almost all car makers and hence there is nothing much to read between the lines or have concerns about any slowdown. And that is because the festive season begins with the arrival of the elephant god in September and the spur in car buying will continue for the next three months at least. All the car makers have their strategies chalked out and will be aiming to make the most.
We generally end up commenting only about the top four or five carmakers every month, so this time, let us focus on the smaller but equally important players in the system. The Ford Freestyle seems to have worked for the American car maker and after its launch in April, the crossover hatchback has been consistently selling around 2,500 units each month. Ecosport, Ford’s lone warrior now has some support and with the launch of the new Aspire in September, Ford will aim to get back into five-figure sales consistently.
Skoda and Volkswagen will have to wait till 2020 for their new MQB-A0-IN platform to spawn the new generations of their budget offering like the Polo, the Vento, the Ameo and the Rapid. Until then, the premium products will keep the brand going but with Rs 20-lakh plus cars, the volumes will be limited. And that is because, at such price tags, people tend to stretch for fancier brands even though their products offer much less value for money.
Renault’s experiment with the Captur hasn’t really worked and the all-new Duster hasn’t managed to gain the kind of traction is generated when it made its debut. The Kwid’s mid-life update hasn’t provided the micro-SUV any added firepower to keep fighting an endless battle with the likes of Maruti Suzuki.
Nissan is reinventing itself in India with a new zeal and seems to have a plan of action in place. Along with hiring more people in the production as well as in after sales, the Japanese company will expand its product portfolio starting with the Kicks SUV. Nissan also has the Leaf EV which should be ideal for India to gain the first-mover advantage before the Hyundai Kona comes in next year. Datsun will continue to cater to the budget segments.
Jeep, Fiat’s only hope in India, has done well with the Compass, selling almost 2,000 units of almost an Rs. 20 lakh SUV for almost a year. While the sales have dipped in the last quarter, the festive season should see the numbers back to where they were.