India's passenger vehicle market leader Maruti Suzuki's entry level hatchback retained its status as the largest selling car in the domestic market for the 14th consecutive year shrugging off stiff competition from stablemate Dzire.
Alto's sales tally for the recently concluded 2017/18 fiscal stood at 258,539 units, which was ahead of the compact sedan Dzire's 240,113 units. The diminutive car's sales grew by 7 per cent during the year helping it stay ahead of Dzire which got a full lifecycle facelift in May last year. Dzire saw its sales grow 20 per cent to its best ever annual tally in its 10 year life span. In the latter half of the year, it even outsold the Alto and looks set to end its reign at the top in this fiscal as consumers graduate from budget oriented to more feature loaded vehicles. Alto had first become a bestseller back in 2004/05 when it overtook the Maruti 800 on a similar theme.
Even if that is the case and despite the fact that Alto is well off its peak of nearly 3.5 lakh units of 2010/11, its year on year growth last fiscal is significant considering its direct rivals had a forgettable year. The Renault Kwid that started off with a bang in 2015 and was the eighh largest selling car in the country in 2016/17 could not sustain the momentum suffering a 24 per cent decline in sales. Kwid has now dropped out of the top 10 best seller's list. Similarly the Hyundai Eon could just about sustain its sales at a little over 60,000 units while the Nano had another torrid year with all time low figures of 1851 units in fiscal 2018. That is as many Altos that Maruti sells in under 3 days.
The bigger movers in the list however were two other Maruti products--the premium hatchback Baleno and the compact SUV Vitara Brezza. The Baleno jumped four places from the seventh to third spot, registering a near 58 per cent growth in sales at 190,480 units. The Brezza in its first full fiscal, also grew a solid 36.6 per cent at 148,372 units and was the seventh largest selling car in the country.
The Swift and Wagon R rounded out the top five best selling cars as Maruti accounted for all the five best selling models in the fiscal and also has seven entries in the top 10 bestseller's list. Hyundai accounts for the three other spots with its hatchbacks Grand i10, Elite i20 and SUV Creta.