20170108

Top Selling Cars in 2016 - India

Thanks to a variety of socio-economic and political factors, 2016 was not a year to remember for the Indian automotive industry. But, with the odd-even policy, partial ban on new diesel vehicles and the demonetization, it could have been much worse and we are glad it wasn't. 

In a flat year that saw a little over 2.9 million new cars and utility vehicles being sold, here is how the top twenty stacked up.


With a sales figure of 245,094 units that include both the 800 and K10 variants, Maruti-Suzuki Alto was India's best-selling car. Be it the tentative first-time car buyers, the young urban dwellers looking for a compact city car or the rural folks who won't look beyond a Maruti dealership when it's time to buy a new car, the Alto has struck a chord with every one of them. In fact, for most of the people out there, the Alto is the quintessential car. It is no wonder then that this little Suzuki has completed yet another year at the top of the sales chart, a feat it first achieved in 2004. But, with a 10% drop compared to 2015 and the Kwid gaining ground, Maruti-Suzuki can't afford to rest.


Just like 2015, the Swift Dzire came in second, beating several lower-priced Maruti-Suzukis in the process. In the last year of its life cycle, this car was so dominant that it sold more than the combined sales of all of it's competitors. Take that, rivals. With the next-generation model expected to launch later this year, expect more of the same in the coming years. The 'tall boy' Wagon-R has swapped places with its stablemate Swift with the former rounding off the podium position. Despite being an old nameplate, Maruti-Suzuki's constant updates and facelifts, albeit minor, have ensured the Wagon-R is still relevant in the market.

Down to number four, the Swift had a significant 19% drop in sales but again, the all-new Swift is slated for launch this year. Arch-rival Hyundai took advantage of this and grew the Grand i10's share which finished 2016 in fifth position at the expense of it's more expensive sibling, the i20. Crucially though, the Hyundai retained the lead in it's slugfest with Maruti-Suzuki's Baleno which had capacity constraints affecting sales throughout the year. With a little over 92,000 units sold last year, Hyundai Creta is now India's best-selling SUV. Rounding off the top ten is the Celerio, a no-nonsense car from the market leader.


Did we talk about the Kwid? Oh no, how could we miss that? The Kwid has been a phenomenal success and has single-handedly catapulted Renault into the big league. For the first time in several years, a Mahindra or a Honda isn't in the top ten. But this Renault is! More importantly, by going head-on against the Alto and emerging successful, the Kwid has proved that Maruti-Suzuki's entry-level hatchback is vulnerable too. 2016 also saw new variants being added to the Kwid lineup which is a good thing. Overall, it's been a job well done by Renault.

Just outside the top ten is the Vitara Brezza which also suffers from production constraints similar to the Baleno. 2017 should see it getting into the top ten easily though. Four more models from Maruti-Suzuki (Omni, Eeco, Ertiga and Ciaz) and two more from Hyundai (Eon and Xcent) have found their way into the top twenty. Toyota Innova, Mahindra Bolero and Honda City are the only models in the list without a Suzuki or Hyundai badge on the nose. While the Innova Crysta is going stronger and stronger, the Bolero and City are on a free fall. It's time for Mahindra and Honda to act!

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