Mumbai: Once booming sub-4 metre sedan market — unique to the Indian buyers — has bounced back in FY-19 to become the fastest growing sub-segment in slowing Indian passenger vehicle market.

The three box car, which is often seen as a sign of progress for an individual, grew faster than the similar sized and much sought after sub-4 metre SUVs and crossovers.

Strong brands — Maruti Suzuki Dzire and Honda Amaze in its new generation — which were designed to be a compact sedan instead of an afterthought for a small car as in the past, not only helped the segment draw more number of buyers towards sedans clearly underlining two important factors — novelty helps and if it is a proven brand, it will draw more number of buyers even in a slowing market.

The sub-4 metre sedan segment grew by 12% in FY-19 to 4.6 lakh units as against 11% growth registered in cross overs and SUVs, which stood at 3.57 lakh units in FY-19. Consider this.


Even as sales of Hyundai Xcent, Tata Tigor, Ford Aspire amongst others registerd a decline in FY-19, the sales and Maruti Suzuki Dzire combined with Honda Amaze were almost the same as the overall sub-4 meter SUV and crossover market.

Not only are sedans proven family cars for people to upgrade to, they are usually priced almost Rs 1lakh lower then cross overs and SUVs. Not surprisingly, Japanese car major Honda Cars India decided to develop Amaze in its second generation as a grounds up sedan product as against a twin to a hatchback in its first generation. Knowing very well that a lot of upgraders are moving to sub-4 meter SUVs and cross overs, Honda ensured that the second generation Amaze was aggressive on style and adequate on ground clearance, an attribute common to cross overs and SUVs.

“Its bold styling and premium offering appealed to the customers in smaller cities and more than 70% of Amaze sales have come from Tier-2 and 3 markets,” said Rajesh Goel, director of sales and marketing at Honda Cars India. More than 8% of Amaze buyers were initially considering buying a compact SUV, he added.

The small sedans are also a favourite with the shared mobility segment, said Avik Chattopadhyay, founder at consultancy firm Expereal. Both, the Dzire, with its more affordable ‘Tour’ line-up, and the Xcent find scores of buyers in the fleet segment for cab-hailing services such as Ola and Uber.

Chattopadhyay says that given the overall passenger vehicles market grew only 2.7% in FY19, the exponential growth in sales of the Amaze must have come in part at the expense of other models from competition in the same segment as well as at the expense of other similarly priced Honda models. Experts say the rising popularity of SUVs will make it trump the sedan segment in the times to come in India, but there will still be a sizeable number of buyers in fleet and family, whose needs can be met only through a three box sedan.


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