Car Manufacturers Attempt to Revive Depressed Sedan Markets with New Launches

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The automotive industry has been struggling with a flagging sedan market in recent years, with the segment’s contribution to overall passenger vehicle sales dropping from 24.2% in 2014-15 to just 10.5% today. However, a handful of carmakers have been frantically working to re-energize the sector in 2021, launching new models and rolling out refreshed versions of existing ones.

Perhaps the most visible player in this space is the Japanese auto giant Honda Cars India, which has bet big on its newly launched City. This model is priced at around Rs. 15.2 lakh, and promises drivers excellent fuel efficiency, driving dynamics, ride quality, and comfort. This has encouraged consumers such as Vipul Anand, Business Analyst at an IT services firm in Greater Noida, to purchase and try out this sedan.

Meanwhile, Hyundai has been pushing the Verna, which Vakati Mahendra Reddy purchased for an on-road price of Rs 17.5 lakh. The model offers a more executive look than an SUV, and boasts attractive features which have caught the attention of customers.

Indeed, Toyota is also gearing up for their launch of the Belta in October 2021, an estimated model based on the Maruti Suzuki Ciaz which should be priced at more than Rs 10 lakh. This is expected to further expand the sedan market, and potentially draw larger numbers to purchase this particular model.

For these car manufacturers, reviving the market is a worthwhile investment. Data from JATO Dynamics suggests that while sedan sales hit an all-time high of 635,000 units in 2015-16, that number dropped to 373,000 in 2020-21. However, the industry expects a surge in volumes this year, with estimated sales predicted to reach 4.25 lakhs, a 35% jump. Three-quarters of these sales are estimated to come from entry-level sedans.

To ensure success for their products, these carmakers need to focus on their consumer trends and demands – such as wanting better road presence – and develop new products accordingly. Additionally, the desire for newly launched vehicles should be addressed as well, with both offering something different and unique to provide value to customers.

In 2021, Honda Cars India has seen an amazing 86% growth in their sedan sales compared to the same period last year. Their entry-level sedan segment, positioning the Amaze, was up 38% while their mid-size sedan segment, positioning the City, saw a 32% growth, matching the industry trends.

Meanwhile, Hyundai Motor India Limited (HMIL) has managed to increase sales of their Verna to 40,000 units this year, almost doubling their numbers from last year. They have done their own market research and found out that customers want sedan cars with great looks, spacious interiors and excellent performance – all of which can be found in the Verna.

Finally, Chinese EV maker BYD plans to roll out the Seal with a sleek and premium design to tap into the EV segment. They are targeting customers who can afford high-end cars, such as entrepreneurs, businessmen, young IT professionals, unicorn founders and luxury car owners.

It looks like the sedan market is slowly gaining traction and revival due to the efforts of these carmakers. With additional models and better value for money for customers, the situation could only get better for the industry as a whole.