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Hyundai and Kia Dominate Mass SUV segment in India

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The upcoming Kia Sonet subcompact SUV expected to only help Korean duo widen gap with rivals

The Hyundai Creta has sold 33,726 units, while the Seltos has done 27,650 units from April-August expand View Photos
The Hyundai Creta has sold 33,726 units, while the Seltos has done 27,650 units from April-August


  • Sister companies Hyundai and Kia are ruling the roost in the SUV space
  • Both OEMs are dominating the compact & subcompact SUV segments
  • Kia expects the Sonet to be yet another blockbuster model

The Koreans are enjoying a dream run in the Indian automobile market courtesy their dominant SUV models. Even as the over picture remains grim for motown, SUVs continue to be a bright spark amidst the gloom. Even as overall sales continue to show pressure, the compact and subcompact SUV segments remains hot. In 5-month sales data for the April-August 2020 period, these two segments have shown much action. The new generation of the Hyundai Creta compact SUV has clawed it way back to the top of the sales pile, by staying just ahead of the Kia Seltos. The Kia Seltos had dethroned the Hyundai Creta as the segment's darling when it had arrived in August 2019.


The Kia Sonet launches on September 18. We have driven the car and know about its variant mix as well.

Also Read: Kia Sonet Deliveries To Begin Along With Its Launch On September 18


Hyundai sold 33,726 units of the Creta from April to August 2020 

The Hyundai Creta has sold 33,726 units in the said period, while the Seltos has done 27,650 units. The third largest player is the Mahindra Scorpio at 9,749 units with the MG Hector and Tata Harrier bringing up the rear. The segment also has the Nissan Kicks, Renault Captur and Duster, and gets some overlap from the likes of the Jeep Compass and Mahindra XUV500. The Kia Seltos and Hyundai Creta share a platform and drivetrains, and so this dominance is a major coup for the Korean sister companies. 

Also Read: Car Sales August 2020: Hyundai Registers 20% Growth In Domestic Market


The Seltos comes in a close second having sold 27,650 units in the 5 months

Tarun Garg, Director, Marketing and Sales, Hyundai India said, " As a brand, Hyundai is globally renowned to offer its customers products that are robust, technologically advanced and highly efficient. The new Creta has become the leading brand of choice owing to its feature rich package while the various choices available with the Venue make it the most value for money package in this segment."


Maruti Suzuki sold 19,824 units of the Vitara Brezza between April- August 2020

Avik Chattopadhyay, Auto Industry Analyst said, "Not at all surprised as they are each a terrific value package. Edgy styling that creates opinion. Features that are class leading. Build quality that matches the "Japanese". And service standards that compete very well with Maruti."

It is a similar scenario waiting to happen in the subcompact SUV space with the Kia Sonet set for launch on September 18 2020. The car's prices are unknown, but we have tested it and also know of its variant mix. The expectation is that Kia will be as aggressive with the Sonet as it was with the Seltos, and therefore popular consensus points to another blockbuster launch. If that is indeed the case, it will join or indeed topple the Hyundai Venue subcompact SUV from its perch as current segment leader.


With the Sonet, Kia hopes to have yet another blockbuster launch

The Hyundai Venue sold 20,372 units in April-August 2020, followed very closely by the Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza at 19,824 units. That's a very narrow gap, especially when you consider that the once diesel-only Vitara Brezza is now only available in petrol variants, while the Venue has multiple drivetrain options. But I have to state this here that the diesel-only Vitara Brezza was selling quite well in the same period last year with 41848 units to its name. Of course, the market sentiments were different then, but it's certainly worth a mention. 


The Venue is the top seller in the subcompact SUV segment from April to August 2020 

The Sonet will sport the same options of course when it arrives. The Tata Nexon remains a strong player here with sales of 13,169 units for the same 5 months according to industry numbers. The Mahindra XUV300 at 8,578 units and segment creator Ford EcoSport at 6,738 units bring up the rear.  However, last year during April and August, Mahindra sold 21,078 units of the XUV300 while Ford sold more than 16000 units of the EcoSport. 


The Kia Sonet will expand the subcompact SUV segment in India

Manohar Bhat, Head, Sales and Marketing, Kia Motors India said, "We are extremely happy with the initial response that the Kia Sonet has generated. With the Sonet, we aim to revolutionise the compact-SUV segment by catering to the unmet needs of both the category and the customers." 


Given the need for more personal mobility, the subcompact SUV space may begin to eclipse the compact SUVs as an increasing number of people look to buy affordable compact cars. The segment is also set for further expansion beyond this month's arrival of the Kia Sonet. The Nissan Magnite and its Renault alter ego, tipped to be called 'Kiger' will also join the fray in the coming months. Throw in the Vitara Brezza based Toyota Urban Cruiser and there will be a lot of models for the consumer to choose from.   

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