Tata Motors gears up to ride high in the SUV market

G Balachandar Chennai | Updated on October 17, 2021

SUV sales gap with Mahindra and Kia narrowing

Tata Motors’ efforts to replicate its car segment success story in the SUV market appears to be paying dividends as the company is strongly targeting to secure the third position in the segment helped by new product launches and favourable market trends.

The company’s SUV sales gap with players like Mahindra and Kia, the 3rd and 4th players respectively after Hyundai and Maruti in the SUV market, has been narrowing in the recent months. The much-awaited new compact SUV, Punch, is expected to close the gap with the rivals and help the brand to move up from its present 5th position.

The battleground in the passenger vehicle market has shifted to SUVs with changing preference of buyers and other favourable factors. For the past two months in a row, sales of SUVs have been higher than cars. As a result, sales of SUVs have overtaken passenger cars during the September quarter — total SUV sales stood at 367,457 units when compared with 343,939 units of car volumes.

Aided by its revamped strategy, Tata Motors’ progress has been impressive in the PV segment, helping it regain its number 3 position in the car segment 2 years ago. It is expecting a similar outcome in the SUV segment where it has recently revamped the product strategy. It came out with a new set of SUVs starting with Nexon, which became a popular model in its portfolio that now comprises four new models.

Improved volumes

With a new range of products, Tata has been boosting its volumes in the SUV segment, narrowing the gap with Mahindra and Kia. For eg., Tata’s total sales in June quarter were about 31,303 units when compared with 42,570 units of Mahindra and 42,176 units of Kia, according to the data provided by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers.

However, in the September quarter, Tata’s total SUV sales stood at 42,817 units as compared to 49,446 units of Mahindra and 46,207 units of Kia.

Tata’s new compact SUV Punch, which will be formally introduced on October 18 with its price announcement, could become a game changer for the firm helping it move up in the sales table as it comes in the sub-4 metre segment that makes up about half of the SUV market in the country.

In addition to favourable market trends, the biggest differentiator of Tata’s SUVs is the safety push. Overall, Tata has the highest number of top safety-rated vehicles in its portfolio.

After Nexon, its new SUV Punch has also bagged 5-star safety rating, which will come in handy for the company to market the product effectively in regions like South, where companies witness increasing number of buyers opting for cars and SUVs that have higher safety features. The battle in the SUV segment is set to heat up further in the coming months.

Published on October 17, 2021

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