CHANDIGARH: Living life king-size has always been the mantra of the Punjabis and their passion for big cars has resulted in burgeoning sales of sport utility vehicles (SUVs) in the state.
The figures speak for themselves: In Punjab and Chandigarh alone, 3,400 utility vehicles (both SUVs and MUVs) are sold every month, while the combined figure for Haryana and Himachal Pradesh is 2,700.
Amit Sagar, vice-president (sales), Automotive Division, Mahindra & Mahindra, told The Sunday Standard, “As per the figures of Society of Indian Automobile Manufactures (SIAM), 75,000 utility vehicles are sold every month across the country. There has been rise of 20.97 per cent sale than last year.”
“The reason is simple: the people nowadays want a vehicle in which they can travel for work comfortably and also go out with family and friends on weekends and holiday. So, SUVs and MUVs are now the most preferred ones,” he says.
According to SIAM, the sale of passenger vehicles across the country grew by 7.89 per cent in in 2017-18 (April-March) compared to the previous year. Within the passenger vehicles, passenger cars, utility vehicle and vans grew by 3.33 per cent, 20.97 per cent and 5.78 per cent, respectively in 2017-2018 compared to the previous year.
“In Ludhiana, the sale of these vehicles is high as the city thrives on entrepreneurs. The businessmen and industrialists buy them and in Jalandhar these vehicles are bought as most families have members living abroad. In Chandigarh the sale is high because it is a Union Territory and all walks of people live there,” says Harwinder Singh, a leading second-hand car dealer.
“Many people prefer SUVs and MUVs as they have higher ground clearance. The driver and passengers can see the road clearly as they are seated high. Also, there is general tendency that these vehicles are given way by other vehicles on the road as they are considered muscle machines,” reasons Harwinder.
Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh travels in a bullet-proof Land Cruiser that was brought during the tenure of former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, while some of the ministers own Toyota Fortuners. Both the Badals — former CM Parkash Singh Badal and his son Sukhbir Singh Badal — also travel in bullet-proof Land Cruisers.
Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar and Himachal CM Jai Ram Thakur also own Fortuners while most of the ministers in Haryana have Toyota Fortuners as their official vehicles.
Says businessman Gurbachan Singh, who owns four such vehicles (Audi-Q-3, Toyota Fortuner, Toyota Innova Crysta and Hyundai Santafe): “These vehicles are comfortable and safe to travel, apart from being a status symbol in society.”