India's "Top 20" Best-Selling Cars in 2017

With cumulative annual sales hitting 3.2 million units, the passenger car segment in India had a solid 9% growth in 2017 over the prior year. The Top 10 Best-Selling Brands had no real surprises with Maruti-Suzuki wiping out over 50% of the volumes. Hyundai walked away with another 17%, with these two brands effectively closing out two-thirds of the market! 

Before we get into the details, here are the Top 20 Best-Selling Cars in India for the year 2017. 

The Top 20 Cars

In a country where one out of every two cars sold are from Maruti-Suzuki, you wouldn't expect cars from other brands to emerge as best-sellers. But, were you prepared for an onslaught of this magnitude? 

Podium was an all Maruti-Suzuki affair

Just as they did in 2016 and the year before that, cars from the Maruti-Suzuki stable swept the podium positions clean. India's love affair with the brand's little car, the Alto, continued in 2017 with cumulative sales of 257,732 units, a solid 5% growth over 2016. But the real star was the Dzire that ended the year in second position, just 30,000 units short. For a few times in 2017, the Dzire toppled the Alto from the top of the monthly sales charts and we wouldn't be surprised to see the promising sub-compact sedan taking the top spot going forward. With a whopping 64% growth over 2016, Baleno came in third, pushing the erstwhile favourites - Wagon-R and Swift - behind.

7 out of the Top 10 best-sellers are from Maruti-Suzuki

Yes, you read that right. Maruti-Suzuki's race didn't stop with winning the top three places. No, they weren't done with having their cars in the first five positions. They went further and ended 2017 with seven of their cars in the Top 10 list! The brand's slow and steady rise in the Top 10 list is a stuff of legends and a case study for global car-makers on how to sustain a dominant position in the market. 

Coming in after the Alto, Dzire and Baleno were the Swift and Wagon-R, both at the end of their respective life cycles. With the all-new Swift poised for launch at the upcoming 2018 Auto Expo and rumours of the new Wagon-R starting to do the rounds, expect both these cars to bounce back strongly in the coming years. In just the first full year on the market, the Vitara Brezza has become the country's best-selling Utility Vehicle with cumulative sales at 140,945 units. With a little over 100,000 units sold, the Celerio comes in at number ten. For a car that started off as Maruti-Suzuki's test bed, that's a tremendous result.

Hyundai occupies the remaining three positions

Hyundai, India's second-largest car-maker forever now, occupied the remaining three positions in the Top 10 list. The brand's three best-sellers - Grand i10, i20 and Creta - had a phenomenal 2017 and grew sales significantly over the previous year. But, for every step Hyundai takes, Maruti-Suzuki seems to be taking three steps. If they aren't careful, Hyundai might find itself in a position where its cars are pushed off the top ten by newer models from Maruti-Suzuki. The new Santro (or whatever they wish to call their new hatchback) couldn't come sooner!

The rest of the Top 20

Having secured the top ten positions, the country's two leading car-makers had five more of their models in the top twenty. Omni, Eeco, Ertiga and Ciaz did the honours for Maruti-Suzuki while the Eon pitched in for Hyundai. With 15 out of the top 20 positions locked out, the alarm bells should have started ringing for the other car-makers. What are these two brands doing that they aren't? Let's save that for a different day and a different post. 

Renault's Kwid, at number eleven, is the first car in the list that's not a Maruti-Suzuki or Hyundai. But, the smash hit that created quite a flutter in 2016 appears to be losing its sheen if the 13% drop in sales is any indication. 

Bolero, Mahindra's superstar in the semi-urban and rural markets, had a good year with over 20% growth in sales. For what's essentially a two decade old car, Bolero's performance is nothing short of outstanding. The Scorpios and TUV3OOs can learn a thing or two from this old workhorse sharing the showrooms!

Thanks to its stellar reputation for reliability and resale value, Toyota's high-priced Innova Crysta had another good year, staying flat at 72,349 units. Factor in the higher average transaction prices for this model and this Toyota is up there in terms of revenue and profits with the best-sellers from Maruti-Suzuki and Hyundai.

The cheerful Tata Tiago had a remarkable run in 2017, selling over 70,000 units. For a brand that was struggling not so long back, the Tiago has proved to be a blessing, bringing much-needed footfalls into Tata showrooms. The positive effect is already seen with the brand's other new models as well. Watch out for Tata, they are on the rise!

Honda City has existed in India for twenty years and for much of its life cycle, it was the best-selling car in its segment. 2017 was yet another year at the top for the City that proved to be Honda's saviour, edging out its arch-rival Ciaz by a measly 600 odd units. The Ciaz and the new Verna have a tough job on their hands, trying to wrestle the top spot from this Honda.

Outside the top twenty, Jeep Compass made a strong debut, reviving Fiat-Chrysler's operations in India. Toyota Fortuner had another astounding year, considering its segment and price point. 

Just like the rest of the world, SUVs and crossovers are on the rise across segments and price points in the Indian market as well, a trend that's likely to influence new model launches in the country going forward. 


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