SUVs drive Hyundai India’s diesel model sales to three-year high

A strong demand for diesel SUVs has bumped up the contribution of these variants to Hyundai Motor India’s sales to a three-year high, a company top official told Business Standard.

The local arm of the South Korean carmaker has benefitted after some leading manufacturers — including car market leader Maruti Suzuki — pulled the plug on diesel models amid tightening regulations.

Hyundai has also gained from the changing travel preference —people are frequenting getaways and taking to the road a lot more than what they did before the pandemic. This trend has been fuelling overall SUV sales.

SUVs outpaced hatchbacks with a contribution of 41 per cent to passenger vehicle sales in the first five months of 2022.

The share of the latter stood at 35 per cent.

The share of diesel variants in the overall sales mix at Hyundai rose to 27.4 per cent in the first five months of the current calendar year (CY).

It was 26.9 per cent in CY 2019, said Tarun Garg, director of sales and marketing at Hyundai Motor India.

This came even as the contribution of diesel variants in the passenger vehicle market saw a decline from 32.8 per cent to 19.5 per cent in the same period.

“Diesel models contributed close to 46 per cent of the overall SUV sales at Hyundai in the first five months of 2022.

“This is against 40 per cent in the whole of 2021,” said Garg.

The clear strategy with regard to fuel type — diesel and petrol — for executive sedans and SUVs as well as petrol and CNG variants for the entry-level models has paid off, he said.

The trend is clearly pronounced in the recently-launched Venue, for which the company has received over 27,000 bookings till recently.

Of this, the contribution of diesel is 33 per cent, up from 23 per cent for the outgoing model.

“With fuel prices going up, demand for diesel models — which are more fuel efficient than their petrol counterparts, have gained traction,” said Garg.

Also, people are driving a lot more in the post-Covid world as they are taking frequent breaks.

Other SUVs in the portfolio — with the exception of the Tucson — have also seen the contribution of diesel climbing up in the sales mix.

The Tucson has seen a marginal drop in diesel variant sales from 67 per cent to 64 per cent in the five months to May 2022 from calendar year 2021.

It’s 78 per cent for Alcazar in the five months to May against 69 per cent in calendar year 2021.

In this period, it was 60 per cent for the Creta against 53 per cent, and 49 per cent for the Verna against 36 per cent.

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