Car Market India 2021: SUV Rule and Suzuki

1.36 billion people populate India, about 15 million cars are on more than three million kilometers of roads. Every year, about three million new cars go “beyond the counter” of the car manufacturer. But what models are Indian drivers buying?

India also suffered massively from the corona pandemic in 2020 and the car market in the most populous country after China was accordingly under pressure. The decline in car sales in 2020 was over 17 percent. The result: just 2.43 million new registrations – in 2011 alone sales figures were even lower at 2.41 million models. In the best year of 2018, 3.36 million new cars were sold in India. In 2021, the Indian car market recovered significantly and sold 3.08 million cars.

Maruti Suzuki and nothing for a long time

As has been the case for years, the market is dominated by Maruti Suzuki, a joint venture between the Japanese carmaker and the Indian government. Suzuki now owns 54.2 per cent of the combined company and has made it the largest car manufacturer in India with a market share of 44.4 per cent. No wonder, as there are eight Maruti vehicles in the top 10. Alto, Swift, Vitara and Wagon R are also popular in this country. The lead in sales changes every year within the Maruti portfolio. In 2018 it was Dzire ahead, in 2019 it was Alto and in 2020 Maruti Swift. In 2021, the Wagon R was able to conquer the land in the sun for the first time in the history of models.

Non-Maruti models in the top 10 include Hyundai Creta in 5th place and Tata Nexo in 10th place. Coincidentally, her group is one of the big winners in 2021, as Tata was able to master the chip crisis better than all the other car manufacturers. Tata’s market share grew from seven to eleven percent. Among the winners is Nissan. The Japanese were able to enter directly into 26th place with the new Magnite SUV. By the way: The top 5 manufacturers Maruti, Hyundai, Tata, Mahindra and Kia together have a market share of 84 percent.

Electromobility in its infancy

When it comes to alternative drives, market leader Maruti relies on CNG and hybrid models, and the first purely electric model for the Indian market will not be available until 2025. Competition – at least in announcements – is more positioned. Tata plans to launch 10 electric cars by 2026, Mahindra plans to have eight electric cars by 2027 and Hyundai plans to have six electric cars by 2028.


With a market share of less than 0.5 percent, electric vehicles are currently at an extremely low level in India. Almost 4000 electric cars were sold in 2020. The annual figures for 2021 are not yet available, on the contrary there are only semi-annual statistics. There, the Tata Nexon is at the forefront with 3,618 models – for comparison, 2,529 units of the model were sold in 2020. The market share for the first six months of 2021 is 57.79 percent. The E-SUV has been on the market since the beginning of 2020 and offers good value for money at a low price of around 15,000 euros.

Number two in India is the MG eZS with 1,789 new registrations in the first half of the year – 1,142 throughout 2020. The electric model comes with a free five-year warranty and an eight-year battery warranty up to a maximum of 150,000 miles. According to MG, the operating costs of eZS per kilometer should not be more than one Indian rupee (equivalent to one euro cent). Third among electric cars is the Tata Tigor. By 2020, the company was able to sell 100 models, in the first half of the year under review there were already 801 vehicles. At this rate, the Tigor surpasses the Hyundai Kona, which was the first electric car in the Indian market to find 223 buyers in 2020, and in 2021 will have only 51 after six months. Mahindra E-Verito ranks fifth in semi-annual statistics with two cars; In 2021 there were nine.

Tow trucks – SUVs are coming

As in Germany, Indian buyers of new cars are increasingly interested in SUVs. Market share increased from 26 to 38 per cent compared to 2019 – at the expense of sedans, which are also becoming less and less important in India. The very popular hatchback models lost seven percent and now have only a 40 percent market share.

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Nor was India spared the consequences of the Corona and the lack of chips in 2021, but the car market still had problems. However, the rate of new cars is extremely low compared to the size of the population. About 3.0 million new cars face 1.36 billion Indians. However, the distribution battle is in full swing in the prosperous market. Maruti Suzuki dominates the car market, Kia has established itself as a new one, brands such as VW and Skoda even produce their models only for India. Ford, on the other hand, says goodbye to the market completely.

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