The Maruti Alto had been India’s bestselling car year on year for over a decade now selling over 25 lakh units in 15 years of sales. The competition however has been a distant second in terms of sales. However, it now seems that with changing times, customer preferences are also changing towards vehicles. An aspirational car for the first time buyer, the Alto lost its top spot to the Maruti DZire, which outsold the entry-level hatchback in May this year.
The Maruti DZire sold 18,953 units in the month of May, followed by the Swift hatchback selling 17,936 units in the last month. The Alto however was third on the list with 17,311 units sold in the previous month. While the Alto may have been pushed down on the podium, it is Maruti Suzuki which is laughing all the way to the bank with all three of its products making it to the top. Even though Alto’s sales have dipped, it is still far ahead in the segment where it competes with the Hyundai Eon, Chevrolet Spark and the newly launched Datsun GO.
The compact sedan segment has surely generated a lot of hype in the recent years. With consumers looking for a premium feel with the sedan body style along with peppy and frugal engine options; the compact sedan is seen as a value for money package for small car buyers. The Maruti DZire is certainly more spacious, powerful, tech laden and premium over the Alto, and is a much more compelling package.
However, we also need to factor in that the Alto’s sales have been consistent over the years, while the DZire has scored sales courtesy of the new segment boom. Moreover, previous Maruti Alto owners are now upgrading to bigger vehicles like the Swift or DZire as they come with the same reliability and after sales service commitment from the company. The compact sedan segment was one of the few segments to grow by 4 percent to 2.33 lakh units, while the overall auto market saw a drop by 5 percent.
The case seems to be similar with other automakers as well. The newly launched Hyundai Xcent compact sedan has also witnessed impressive growth within few months of launch. The South Korean manufacturer sold 7192 units of the Xcent last month, while its entry-level hatchback the Eon managed to sell 6300 units in May this year. The DZire is due for a facelift in the coming months, while the Alto will also be updated early next year.