South Korean carmaker Hyundai Motors has raced to the top of the premium sedan market with its Elantra outselling rivals Toyota's Corolla Altis and GM's Chevrolet Cruze in the past three months.
The country's second-largest carmaker, known for its compact cars Santro, i10 and Eon as well as premium hatchback i20, has for the first time cornered a third of the premium sedan market with Elantra ahead of Corolla with 20% share and Cruze with 17% share.
"We are a strong player in the compact segment already, but our long strategy is to achieve such status in the mid-sized, premium and sports utility vehicle segments," Rakesh Srivastava, vice-president (marketing & sales) at Hyundai Motor India, said.
Launched in the country in August, the Neo Fluidic Elantra-dubbed as the car of the year in the US-immediately displaced Corolla Altis as the leader in its segment. Honda's Civic, once the market leader, is almost out of the race, selling just around 50 cars a month.
Sales of premium sedans, which account for less than 1% of the Indian car market dominated by compact cars, have fallen 50% in the first seven months of the current fiscal when 14,823 cars were sold, down from 22,352 cars sold during April-October last year.
High interest rates, fluctuating fuel prices, high inflation and overall economic slowdown have tapered off the demand in the domestic car market. Manufacturers apex body SIAM has lowered its growth forecast three times this year to 1%-3%.
The falling demand in the segment has taken its toll. Honda has scrapped plans to introduce its next generation Civic in the country, while Maruti Suzuki has quietly withdrawn its top-end Kizashi sedan from the market.
Hyundai, meanwhile, remains bullish on the segment after the successful debut of new version of the Elantra and the top-end Sonata this year.
The company attributed part of Elantra's success to its 360-degree marketing campaign, 'Signature of Success', which was launched across media platforms like print, electronic, outdoor and online.
Also read: Hyundai Elantra: Competition check
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