Hyundai, Kia Dominate SUV Market in India

  • By Jang Hyeong-tae

    January 18, 2021 11:36

    Hyundai and affiliate Kia dominated the sport utility vehicle market in India last year, claiming a combined 44.6-percent share, a dramatic rise from 28.7 percent in 2019.

    Hyundai led the market with 25.5 percent by selling 180,237 SUVs, and Kia followed it with 19.1 percent, pushing India's own Mahindra & Mahindra down to third place.

    The Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers said on Sunday that a total of 2.44 million cars were sold in the country last year, down 17.4 percent on-year, as the market took a direct hit from the COVID-19 pandemic. But the SUV segment fared somewhat better, suffering a 6.3-percent drop to 705,152 cars.

    "Roads in India are not very good, so people prefer SUVs, as they have high ground clearance. Young middle class people with rising incomes also prefer to buy an SUV as their first car," an industry insider said.

    The key to Hyundai and Kia's rise in India is their focus on the SUV segment. Kia only entered the world's fourth largest auto market in 2019 and has centered its marketing on the SUV lineup including the Seltos, Carnival and Sonet.

    Hyundai's Creta was the best-selling SUV in the country last year, with 96,989 cars sold, followed by Kia's Seltos (96,932). Hyundai's Venue was fourth (82,428). Both the Creta and Seltos were also among the top 10 best-selling vehicles overall.

    Hyundai plans to make India its hub for sourcing automobile parts and is set to expand operations there in a bid to reduce its dependency on China. It recently asked partners such as tire maker Continental and parts maker Aptive PLC to increase production in the country, Reuters reported.

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