Despite post-pandemic challenges, the automobile industry in India has found its stride, registering record sales while embracing the global shift to electric and other trends. CE brings you the big picture
Maruti Suzuki, a stalwart in the industry, accounted for nearly 40 per cent of the sales, while Hyundai Motor India set a record with domestic sales surpassing 6,00,000 cars.
Maruti Suzuki, a stalwart in the industry, accounted for nearly 40 per cent of the sales, while Hyundai Motor India set a record with domestic sales surpassing 6,00,000 cars. (Representative image)

BENGALURU: The Indian automobile market roared to new heights in 2023, showcasing a robust growth trend. Recent figures reveal a groundbreaking milestone, with the annual passenger car market soaring past the 40 lakh mark for the first time — a remarkable 8 per cent surge compared to the previous year.

Behind these impressive numbers are automotive giants achieving monumental feats. Maruti Suzuki, a stalwart in the industry, accounted for nearly 40 per cent of the sales, while Hyundai Motor India set a record with domestic sales surpassing 6,00,000 cars.

Post the disruptions caused by the pandemic and supply chain constraints, the car market is gradually regaining its stride. However, customers still contend with extended waiting periods, ranging from weeks to 8-10 months.

Unprecedented demand has outpaced production numbers, turning India into a manufacturing hub for exports to emerging markets.

Safety has become a paramount concern for buyers, influencing their purchasing decisions. Features like airbags and advanced driver-assist systems (ADAS) have gained popularity, prompting the implementation of Bharat NCAP, India’s crash-test rating standards. Tata Safari and Harrier emerged as trailblazers, securing 5-star ratings in adult and child occupant protection.

As safety becomes a focal point, more models are expected to announce BNCAP ratings. The focus on safety mechanisms, experts argue, will result in a increase in car prices.

Sales surge

Maruti Suzuki retains its coveted position as the leader in the market, boasting a 40 per cent market share. With an impressive 17 lakh cars sold in India and 2,70,000 units exported, Maruti’s dominance remains unchallenged. The brand’s collaboration with Toyota, supplying models like Glanza and Rumion, has proven to be mutually beneficial.

Hyundai India, not to be outdone, achieved a historic milestone by selling 6,02,111 units — an impressive 9 per cent increase from the previous year. Holding a 15 per cent market share, Hyundai’s success extends to its sister concern, KIA, which enjoys a 5-6 per cent share of the market. Tata Motors and Mahindra follow, with market shares of 15 per cent and 12 per cent, respectively. Meanwhile, Toyota and Honda secured 5 per cent and 2.75 per cent of the market, with the latter gaining traction after the launch of Elevate SUV.

Price hikes

The landscape of the automotive market is evolving, marked by price hikes. Citing factors like rising input costs, commodity pricing, and increased logistics costs, brands like TATA Motors, Maruti Suzuki, MG, Hyundai, and Skoda have adjusted their prices.

Even luxury players, Mercedes-Benz India, are not immune to these adjustments, signalling an industry shift.

Electric trends

In the realm of electric vehicles (EVs), Chinese carmaker BYD has claimed the top spot in the global electric car market by selling over 30 lakh units, surpassing even the renowned Tesla. This year marks BYD’s debut in the global top 10 car sales. In India, BYD has made its presence known with models like the E6 MPV and Atto3 SUV.

Hyundai Motor Group is gearing up for a significant shift, completing the redevelopment of the Kia AutoLand Gwangmyeong EV plant to produce the brand’s EV3 – a compact EV aimed at both domestic and international markets. The overarching strategy aims to position the group as one of the top three global EV manufacturers by 2030.

Cars as residential and mobility spaces

Connectivity is emerging as a pivotal trend, blurring the lines between residential and mobility spaces. Cars are becoming more than just vehicles, offering the ability to control digital appliances via in-car infotainment systems. Conversely, AI speakers, TVs, and smartphone apps enable remote vehicle control, emphasising a seamless blend of technology in everyday life.

Recently, Hyundai Motor Company and Kia Corporation entered into a groundbreaking agreement with Samsung Electronics, fostering a Car-to-Home and Home-to-Car service partnership. This collaboration aims to elevate the connectivity experience between residential and mobility spaces.

Growing trends of ADAS

As vehicles embrace advanced driver-assistance technology (ADAS), the industry is on the brink of a transformative era. These features not only pave the way for autonomous driving but also propel the domestic ADAS market toward the billion-dollar mark. Giants like BMW Group and Mercedes-Benz are already venturing into Level 3 ADAS, securing test licences for self-driving on high-speed roads. This push towards autonomy is reflected in players in the Indian market incorporating ADAS level 1 & 2 technology in their flagship models.

The trajectory is set, and the Indian automotive landscape is poised for an electrifying future filled with innovation and connectivity.

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The New Indian Express