2012 Top Selling Cars - India

Early today, we brought you the list of top-selling cars and trucks in USA. Now, it's time to come back home and look at what clicked and what not in India.

Though the lure of constant double digit growth no longer exist in the Indian market, there are hardly countries elsewhere that offer so much potential for growth in future. The people to car ratio is still very low in India and the number is only going to go up, albeit with a few hiccups here and there. So, inspite of a spate of challenges like sky-rocketing fuel prices, stagnant growth rate, unclear fuel policy and high interest rates, 2012 was still a record year for the industry as the overall new car sales crossed 2.5 million units.

Does the list of top selling cars in India throw up any surprises? Not at all. The Top 10 list has 4 models from Maruti-Suzuki, 3 from Hyundai, 2 from Tata and 1 from Mahindra. Probably for the first time ever, the top 4 positions are all occupied by models from the Maruti-Suzuki stable. In this day and age when competing brands try everything in their arsenal to dethrone them, the king only seems to be getting stronger and stronger.

The Maruti-Suzuki Alto is to India like what Ford F-Series is to United States of America, as it invariably ends up as the top-selling car in India. Though the Alto did not manage to breach the 300,000 units mark like it did in the past three years, the Alto 800 that was launched recently should help the model grow again in 2013. As exactly predicted by us last year, the all-new Swift has taken the Indian market by storm and finished runner-up to the Alto. As if that was not enough, the redesigned Swift Dzire sedan massacred the competition and rounded off the podium. Along with the Ertiga that's topping its segment in sales, Maruti-Suzuki's Swift platform now churns out India's best-selling premium hatchback, best-selling sedan and the second best-selling Utility Vehicle.

With the Swift platform proving to be an unstoppable cash cow, Maruti-Suzuki wouldn't mind the Wagon-R slipping down to fourth position in the list. Mahindra Bolero never ceases to amaze and puts in a stellar performance to end up fifth. Given the fact that the Bolero is built on an age-old platform with just nips and tucks every now and then, Mahindra must be laughing all the way to the bank. The remaining positions in the Top 10 list are either a Hyundai or a Tata, starting with the i10 and Indica/Vista twins, both of which saw significant dip in sales. As if to bring some cheer to the South Korean camp, Eon is slowly gaining traction in the market and ends up as the eighth best-selling car, ahead of it's elder sibling i20 and Tata Nano, which finally makes it to the Top 10 list.

2012 Top 10 in India:

1. Maruti-Suzuki Alto - 286,833
2. Maruti-Suzuki Swift - 186,797
3. Maruti-Suzuki Swift Dzire - 154,273
4. Maruti-Suzuki Wagon-R - 134,823
5. Mahindra Bolero - 113,537
6. Hyundai i10 - 98,702
7. Tata Indica/Vista - 94,717
8. Hyundai Eon - 93,578
9. Hyundai i20 - 85,299
10. Tata Nano - 76,747

Source for Figures: www.team-bhp.com

* Star Performer of 2012 - Maruti-Suzuki Swift & Swift Dzire
* Expected Star Performer for 2013 - Maruti-Suzuki Swift & Swift Dzire

We were right when we predicted that the Swift will be the star of 2012. And we are sure we will be proved right yet again in 2013. There is something with the "Swift" moniker that Indians are crazy about and with such a huge and loyal customer base, the Swift and Dzire are only going to grow in popularity. Over the course of next few years, we wouldn't be surprised even if the Swift ends up toppling the Alto as the largest selling car in India.

Outside the Top 10, models like Toyota Innova, Mahindra XUV 500 and Maruti-Suzuki Ertiga posted impressive sales figures, as did the Renault Duster since it's launch in the second half of the year. Maruti-Suzuki and Hyundai are still the two top brands in India, but Tata loses it's third place to Mahindra, with the latter tasting success with every new Utility Vehicle that it launched. Be it the refreshed Xylo, XUV 500 or the Quanto, all new Mahindra models have hit the sweet spot while Tata's new launches like the Aria, Venture and Safari Storme have failed to live up to expectations. Tata has its work cut out and it looks like the company has already started putting in efforts to gain back its lost market share.

In what can be called a master-stroke of genius, Audi, despite being a late entrant to the Indian market and the youngest of the three German brands, finishes the year a trifle short of BMW, which is still the top-selling luxury brand in India. Having dominated our market every year since its entry here, BMW narrowly leads the race this time, courtesy Audi's big-selling 'Q' series of Sports Utility Vehicles. Mercedes-Benz, the erstwhile leader until BMW and Audi surged past as it watched helplessly, has vowed to get back to the top with several new models like the A-Class and CLA waiting in the wings to pounce on the competition. This is one slug fest that we wouldn't mind getting in and dirty. Watch this space!


  1. Nano in top ten...not a ''disappointment'' any more

    1. Absolutely. But we would love to see the Nano up there in the Top 3. Let's see if Tata is able to achieve that level.

  2. No doubt Maruti,mahindra and Tata leads the race of highest selling cars in India.According to me the change Mahindra has done to his company's image is great.

    1. You have left Hyundai from the list of big-sellers. And we do agree that Mahindra has made giant strides over the recent years.

  3. I think that Mahindra has transformed itself in a big manner. It has been quite successful in creating a urban brand image by launching stylish new MUVs - Xylo, XUV, Quanto.