2020 is left with only a handful of D-segment sedans.
Back in the day when I was a school going kid, I remember the surge of D-segment sedans in India. At that time, the German luxury trio weren’t too accessible to the masses. The high import duties and exorbitant maintenance cost wasn’t a piece of cake for even some of the well heeled folks.
There was an audience though for premium sedans, looking for a status symbol with reasonable budget. That’s when cars like Toyota Corolla, Skoda Octavia, Hyundai Sonata and Honda Accord came in. These cars developed a new space for themselves and instantly got popular.
Many other sedans from the same brands came in later and pushed the envelope further. However, there were even some cars that couldn’t get any attention at all. Opel Vectra, Ford Mondeo, Renault Fluence and even Maruti’s attempt failed with the Suzuki Kizashi.
Meanwhile, there was a huge gap in the SUV space and very few contenders hindering the D-segment price point. Mitsubishi was happy selling the Pajero in this sweet spot. Ford had some takers too for Endeavour but none of them were eating into the premium sedan space.
Toyota launched the Fortuner by the end of 2009 and disrupted the segment, both premium sedans and SUVs. Even after a decade of launch, it still rules the roost. Meanwhile, other SUVs and budget-friendly luxury badges crippled the D-segment sedans.
With BMW X1 entering the market with Rs. 22 lakhs (ex-showroom) and Audi Q3 with Rs. 25 lakhs, it changed the game completely. Soon, the transition to luxury badges became strong considering the price, growing network in India and manageable after sales.
Subsequently, the D-segment sedans got lost between the premium SUVs and entry-level luxury cars. Now let’s not go deep into the timeline and rivals. Let’s compare the current scenario with 2015.
There were 11 D-segment sedans on sale in 2015 and now there are only 4 left including Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra, Skoda Superb and Toyota Camry. Yes, the Octavia is no more on sale, while the RS is limited to 200 units.
In 2015, sedans had 26 percent market share in India. Now it is down to 15 percent, this includes compact sedans and C-segment sedans too. In the last 5 years SUV segment has grown from 9 percent to 24 percent.
To sum up, the declining premium sedan segment has two huge factors. Firstly, the growing trend of SUVs. Secondly and more importantly the crazy pricing. Carmakers haven’t got a chance to justify high localisation of such sedans due to poor demand and hence the appalling CKD and CBU prices that touch close to Rs. 50 lakhs (on-road).
Now this segment has no future and will continue with small numbers. Skoda is managing well with the Superb selling in decent numbers and the recent facelift is expected to keep it on top of the chart. Camry is not a big seller. The new gen Octavia is expected to launch later in 2021. Tell us what is/was your favourite sedan of this segment?
– The segment is rapidly declining in India
– From 11 cars in 2015 down to just 4 in 2020
– SUVs have taken over the segment