Will any SUV guarantee success?, Auto Information, Automobilnews
Right here an SUV, there an SUV, in all places an SUV! Appears that the previous McDonald’s farm has nothing however SUVs. However this phenomenon will not be uniquely Indian. What was as soon as restricted to particular markets just like the US, Russia and Australia due extra to software than merely a style assertion has now blossomed right into a extremely advanced and segmented automobile class. Virtually all automakers, throughout the value and positioning spectrum, have been investing a good portion of their R&D budgets in churning out extra SUVs, be they diesel, electrical or hydrogen.
UV will not be a brand new phenomenon and it didn’t begin with the Land Rover Defender of 1948. That was preceded by the Russian GAZ-61 by ten years. Some might level out that the Japanese TokyuKurogane Kind 95 got here out in 1936, however then it was purely for navy software.Although there is no such thing as a single globally accepted definition for Sport Utility Car (SUV), the automobile credited with utilizing this time period for the primary time in its promoting was the 1984 Jeep Cherokee XJ. And that opened the floodgates of a brand new body-style all throughout the US which has now firmly established its following in each nation on this planet!
India has had its legacy of UVs ranging from the Willy’s Jeep within the mid-40s, traversing by the Jeep Stationwagon, the Mahindra Commander and Bolero, the Tata Sierra and Safari to the Kia Seltos and Sonet now. The recognition of the body-style is so widespread that three world manufacturers, MG, Kia and Citroen, have determined to enter the Indian market with an SUV-first technique. One other one, GWM’s Haval, is ready on the sidelines!
SUV, SUV in all places!
I’ll spend a while on the gross sales numbers from April 2020 to February 2021 to ascertain this phenomenon. Thoughts you, this was a horrible interval for car gross sales and although we do see a ‘revival’ from September, there’s a lengthy winding street until we’re out of the woods.
In a interval when the general passenger automobile market has shrunk by 10% over 2019-20 (which itself was a dampener), the SUV gross sales have been the one vibrant spot, rising by near 2% over the identical interval within the earlier yr!After we see the March 2021 numbers, to be shared by the Society of Indian Vehicle Producers (SIAM) anytime now, the narrative will get confirmed.
So, what actually constitutes the “UV” class? It extends proper from the compact utility autos, that are lower than 4m lengthy, to the full-blooded 4WD off-roading mammoth. Allow us to take a more in-depth have a look at how the numbers stack up for varied forms of UVs as categorised by SIAM.
Wanting on the names of the autos talked about in opposition to every class provides a good concept of the kind of UV, in dimension, energy and capabilities. I’ve intentionally given the automobile classes every UV class cannibalises, as the general market pie will not be rising whereas the share of UVs is. The largest casualty is the standard sedan…that image of chic standing that each upwardly cellular aspired for until the flip of the millennium.
Why do Indians love SUV?
Not for the off-roading, foolish! We love the body-style. The UVC is nothing however hatchbacks on steroids. The UV1 can also be the identical sedan platform with the highest hat of an SUV.
The primary causes for this new-found love are:
- The excessive seating provides a ‘commanding’ view of the street, nearly like you’re sitting on a throne whereas the plebians within the decrease autos move by beneath you; that is your chariot on tyres!
- For the girl drivers, it’s a positive feeling of higher safety as the large form appears to be like extra intimidating than a hatch or sedan.
- The upper floor clearance is a reassurance that you’ll counter the potholes in addition to pace breakers with out a lot trepidation. Nonetheless, given the best way SUV homeowners are likely to even keep away from swimming pools of water within the monsoons, one would have thought in any other case!
- Appears to be like masculine and brawny sufficient…in reality, the extra, the higher; those who tried going in opposition to this development perished quickly.
- The ‘mono quantity inside permits a sense of extra space, particularly in case you have a sunroof, and in addition affords extra practicality in accessing the rear cupboard space.
These causes should not too totally different from these in most different markets like China, Brazil, Germany or Gabon, no matter the standard of roads and social equations of standing and energy.
So, automakers in India have gone about re-jigging their product portfolios over the past decade to supply extra SUV-styled autos, together with some on the entry degree just like the S-presso, Kwid and Redi-go! Allow us to check out the rising share of UVs in some main manufacturers in India vis-à-vis automobiles.
Apart from Maruti Suzuki, which caters largely to the entry degree, all of the others have UVs making up at the least one-third of their gross sales.
In reality, there are six manufacturers that function in India solely with UVs of their portfolio – Stellantis (Jeep), Mahindra, Power, MG, Kia and Isuzu!
Is SUV a ticket to success?
With a view to get the drift, I’ll return to the instances when LED TVs and smartphones burst upon the Indian market. In each the classes, manufacturers mushroomed throughout, both as choices from the prevailing gamers or from completely new ones getting into the product class for the primary time. As soon as the mud of the product euphoria settled down, solely the ‘strongest’ remained, as soon as once more proving Darwin proper. The energy didn’t lie in mere dimension or experience, however in relevance, buyer understanding and repair orientation.
I’ll cite seven particular causes, with some real-world examples, to drive residence my opinion that merely providing an SUV will not be a ticket to success on this market.
Been there, performed that. Nah!
Simply because I’ve been within the car enterprise for years and am a market chief doesn’t assure that my SUVs will likely be accepted as nicely. Keep in mind Nokia? From being the quilt story of Forbes in 2007 on being unstoppable, the market chief was worn out in lower than 10 years! Be careful Maruti Suzuki…are you being simply too gradual within the SUV race?
I’ve been profitable elsewhere. Actually?
That logic ought to have utilized to different body-styles too once they have been extra common. Sony, Panasonic and LG are big names in different smartphone markets however have bombed in India. Don’t take the Indian market as a mere follower of developments elsewhere.
I’m “premium”. Huge deal!
So was Opel, Sony Ericsson and Blackberry. Being premium doesn’t imply charging extra however being recognised as one by the client. If Zara begins giving reductions from week 3 of its existence in India, it isn’t thought of to be helpful sufficient. If folks select a Fortuner or Endeavour over an X1 or a Q3 even with their reductions, there may be extra to what the client appears to be like for than merely being a self-announced premium.
I provide terrific worth. Not sufficient!
So have been Micromax, Intex, Lava and Karbonn as smartphones. We shunned them for Mi, Redmi, Oppo and Vivo. Simply having the identical options as others at a much less worth level makes a model weak to know-how evolution and obsolescence. The possession lifecycle performs a a lot stronger function right here. Lesson for Nissan?
Proper phase. Fallacious product
One of many causes for liking the SUV is its masculine appears to be like. If you happen to attempt bringing in a product that appears ‘sissy’, it won’t work, nevertheless massive a reputation you might be. The S-cross is a dwelling instance. The Kaptur is a dying one. Hope Honda has learnt.
I’m “Indian”. So what?
That card doesn’t maintain water anymore. The patron desires the most effective of the world. Therefore, he/she dumped Micromax, Lava, Intex or Karbonn for Mi, Redmi, Oppo or Vivo. As an Indian model, it’s important to be really world-class to be aspirational. Look exhausting Mahindra…
My cousin is similar automobile
Weak excuse! The case of Duster and Terrano is an instance to drive residence this fact. Simply because one works, the opposite needn’t, particularly because the ‘different’ has no motive to exist apart from being a substitute when the ‘one’ will not be accessible. Pointer to Skoda and VW?
The underside line
SUV will not be a “fad” that can fade away like sure style developments. The product providing rests on robust fundamentals utilizing a mixture of emotional and sensible causes. It can see makes an attempt at making the body-style look slicker and sportier as we see within the premium and luxurious manufacturers like Jaguar, Mercedes, BMW, and Audi. The ‘excellent’ form will not be there as but, however it’s only a matter of time. Additionally, this doesn’t imply that the normal hatch and sedan will wither away. They shall proceed to take pleasure in a loyal following, and an SUV won’t be able to remove the magnificence and proportions of a sedan anytime. They shall all co-exist, with the SUV body-style changing into the predominant participant…by fairly a ways!
(The creator is co-creator of Expereal India. Additionally, he’s former head of selling, product planning and PR at Volkswagen India.)
(DISCLAIMER: The views expressed are solely of the creator and ETAuto.com doesn’t essentially subscribe to it. ETAuto.com shall not be accountable for any harm prompted to any particular person/organisation instantly or not directly.)