Three-row sport utility vehicles (SUVs) are becoming the next battlefield for passenger car manufacturers.
Indians much more frequently head to leisure destinations where you can drive with friends and family to ignore the sadness of Covid-19. The SUV body type, therefore, is gaining popularity among ascenders. Following suit, automakers are lining up new launches intended to alienate buyers from the premium sedan segment. They are also looking to improve midsize SUV owners.
One such example is Hyundai Motor India, which launched the Alcazar on Friday, giving Cretan owners an option to level up. Hyundai has priced its three-row SUV offering in a six- and seven-seat configuration at a premium. While the cheapest version of the Alcazar in the petrol variant is priced at Rs 16.3 lakh, higher than its rivals, the more premium six-seater diesel version is priced at Rs 19.99 lakh, significantly higher. than existing models.
Tarun Garg, Hyundai Motor India’s director of sales and marketing, while defending the premium price, noted that the latest offering is loaded with bells and whistles and has a long list of features, some of which are first in the segment.
Thats not all. About half a dozen more premium three-row midsize models are expected to hit the roads in the next two years, said a person familiar with the automakers’ product plans. Among these, while the Mahindra XUV700, 7-seater Jeep Compass is expected to go on sale this year, similar offers are expected from Maruti Suzuki and Toyota in the first half of 2022. A seven-seater version is also in the works. of the Seltos.
Models with three rows and a six- and seven-seat configuration currently represent a third of the SUV market (includes multipurpose vehicles such as Ertiga and Innova) and are expected to double in the next three years, according to Puneet Gupta, associate director of IHS. Mark it. In the general market for passenger cars, the share of such models is 10 percent, he said. “The need for larger vehicles will drive sales,” he said.
Even the broader SUV market has seen a rebound. More than one in two passenger cars sold in May in India was an SUV, compared to one in three sold in the same month in 2019, according to the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers. The abrupt change reflects a strong preference for the segment in the personal mobility space and a growing traction for driving destinations amid the pandemic.
Garg noted that Hyundai’s market research showed there was high demand for the third row as more families went on vacations to nearby destinations to avoid traveling by plane or train. “With the blockade, people want to spend more time with the family, travel together in a car. If you see the holiday trend, it was all about taking a flight and flying to some international destination. Now it has shifted to places within a five to six hour range where they can drive with the family, ”he said.
Manufacturers such as Tata Motors and MG Motors, which have derived three-row models from their existing midsize SUVs, get 30 to 35 percent of their sales for the larger variant platform, says IHS’s Gupta, citing Harrier and Safari. and Héctor and Héctor Plus. It makes sense for both manufacturers and buyers.
With Crete as the top seller (600,000 units sold since launch), it made sense for Hyundai to enter the three-row segment. Many of Crete’s customers are looking for an upgrade, Garg said. “They feel like they have now reached a higher level in their life and they want to travel in luxury, they want to have luxury in their car and they want a little more versatility,” he said. With a high level of sales in Crete, Hyundai exceeded 25.5 percent of sales in calendar year 2020 and sold 180,237 units.