Honda City that once used to be the top brand in the Indian mid-size sedan market, seems to have lost its sheen and sold only 16,925 units in FY24, which is less than half of 35,038 units sold in the previous financial year.

One of the major reasons for the drop in sales is because of customers choosing sports utility vehicles (SUVs) and similar form factors over sedans or other segments in the last few years, said experts tracking the sector.

The overall mid-size sedan market in the domestic market declined 10 per cent to 78,373 units in FY24 as against 86,029 units in FY23, the latest data shared by Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) indicated. Hyundai Motor India’s Verna leads the market with 30,017 units during the last financial year (19,769 units).

Newcomer in the segment, Volkswagen’s Virtus has also shown growth with 21,094 units sold in FY24 (17,612 units).

Sales of Maruti Suzuki’s Ciaz also declined during the year to 10,337 units (13,610 units).

Shift to SUV

Asked about the declining numbers of the City, Kunal Behl, Vice-President - Marketing and Sales, Honda Cars India, told businessline, “While the mid-size sedan segment has declined 10 per cent during FY24 and there is a shift towards SUV body type; there are significant numbers of sedan enthusiasts in the market. The Honda City commands a strong brand equity and aspirational status.”

He said as part of the company’s strategy last year, Honda Cars India moved away from diesel and also discontinued parallel sales of the fourth-generation City, which is reflected in current City volumes.

“Having said that, the City continues to enjoy high consideration among sedan enthusiasts who are looking for drivability, sophistication, safety and comfort. Also, with introduction of Honda Elevate, we are able to cater both customer segment looking for an SUV or sedans,” Behl added.

Interestingly, the company’s SUV, which was launched six months ago (September), has seen a quick demand and registered sales of 33,642 units till now, as per the SIAM data.

Meanwhile, talking about the success of Verna, Tarun Garg, Chief Operating Officer, Hyundai Motor India, said, “Hyundai Verna has been one of the most iconic models in our product line-up... Last year, we launched the all-new Verna that redefined design, technology and set new safety benchmarks in the industry with the five-star GNCAP rating making it the best selling sedan in its segment.”