The strong hybrid passenger vehicles are expected to see a sudden growth in the next three-four months although retail sales have fallen MoM in the last few months, said industry veterans.
According to Vahan data (Ministry of Road Transport & Highways), retail sales of strong hybrid passenger vehicles were recorded at 522 units in January, which declined to 433 units in February and went up to 658 units in March, but again fell down to 516 units in April and further declined to 299 units in May.
There are only a few players, mostly Japanese, which are manufacturing some strong hybrid vehicles right now out of their entire portfolio. For instance, Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM) has only two models – Urban Cruiser Hyryder and Innova Hycross, and Maruti Suzuki India (MSIL) also has the similar number of vehicles – the Grand Vitara and the upcoming Invicto.
Similarly, Honda Cars India also has the Honda City e:HEV (Electric Hybrid) and the same will be offered in the upcoming Elevate mid-size SUV.
Takuya Tsumura, President and Chief Executive Officer, Honda Cars India had recently told businessline in an interview that the City e:HEV is contributing around 11 per cent of the total sales of the City. The Honda City (Petrol) and City e:HEV are priced between ₹11.49 lakh and 20.39 lakh. While the Petrol variant of the sedan is priced at ₹11.49 lakh to ₹15.97 lakh, the e:HEV is priced at ₹18.89 to ₹20.39 lakh (all ex-showroom prices, New Delhi).
“There is good traction for strong hybrids in the market. There are multiple reasons for the growing preference over electric vehicles (EVs) -- the cost of acquisition of hybrids is lower compared with EVs, used car prices are predictable, and also there is no range anxiety as hybrids charge automatically using braking power,” Shashank Srivastava, Senior Executive Officer -- Marketing and Sales, MSIL told businessline.
He said the market has very few models right now in strong hybrid, but it will increase in future. And, as more models with hybrids are introduced it is obvious that the demand for these cars will grow, he added.
Asked about the wholesale (dispatches to dealers) of MSIL’s only strong hybrid- Grand Vitara right now, Srivastava said that sales have been around 70,000 units, out of which 13,000 are strong hybrid.
For Toyota Innova Hyryder, the sales have been around 28,000 units out of which 21,000 are strong hybrids, sources at the company said.
“Going forward, there are several models which will have the options of strong hybrid in their portfolio. For instance, Maruti Suzuki is betting big on electric and hybrids as it charts out its growth strategy for this decade. The company has plans to launch six electric offerings between now and 2030, but also eyeing for a big share in the hybrid category,” said a Delhi-based industry veteran.
In the luxury cars segment, Lexus is the only one that sells maximum number of strong hybrid passenger vehicles, whether it is a sedan or SUV. The company sells six models in India, out of which only one (LX500) is non-hybrid.