The passenger vehicle market across the country was dominated by Maruti Suzuki in 2018, with a share of almost 50 percent. That year, the company sold around 1.6 million units in India. It also became the only car manufacturer in the country to sell over 20 million passenger vehicles cumulatively. The landmark was achieved in less than 37 years since the company sold its first vehicle, the Maruti 800, in 1983. After the iconic Hindustan Ambassador and Fiat Premier Padmini, Maruti 800 became the third name to be synonymous with cars across the country. Maruti produced over 2.8 million 800s, of which around 2.6 million were sold domestically. This model remains the second highest production car in the country, second only to the Hindustan Ambassador. The title of the best-selling car held by the 800 was however passed on the Alto 800, which remains as the best alternative to the historical Maruti in recent years.
In the SUV segment, the compact SUV Vitara Brezza dashed towards exponential growth. Within four years of its launch, the model had crossed five hundred thousand units in sales. Tata Motors and Hyundai have been the Delhi-based company’s top competitors. In terms of exports, the market was dominated by Hyundai Motors. Tata Motors was the second largest manufacturer of passenger vehicles after Maruti Suzuki, however, the largest producer of commercial vehicles domestically. Since the acquisition of the Jaguar and Land Rover, the company had further strengthened its base in the passenger car segment giving further competition to Maruti.
The drop in sales of the automotive segment in India created the need for government intervention. A series of initiatives were announced by the finance minister to encourages customers and additional incentives to encourage government agencies as well to purchase new vehicles. The government is also in favor of electric vehicles with its incentives and reduced taxes. Maruti Suzuki announced the launch of its electric car ‘Futuro-E’ at the 2020 Auto Expo. The electric vehicle would be the first intervention of the company in the electric vehicle market, where major competitors had already stepped in. The Indian EV market was estimated to grow by more than two billion U.S. dollars by 2023 and the largest stakeholder in the domestic car segment has aimed to grab the top-spot in the zero-emission segment as well.
The automotive sector experienced a decline in the second half of 2019. As per the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers, the passenger vehicle sales across the south Asian country dropped by over 23 percent in the month of September. The same month, commercial vehicles witnessed an exponential dip of about 62 percent in sales. Facing its worst slowdown in decades, the slump in the automotive sector continued in what was the fourth largest auto industry in the world. Although the industry was estimated to employ over a million people in 2020, the continued struggle within the sector could result in a massive loss in employment opportunities. To compensate for the loss in sales, leading producers such as Maruti Suzuki, Tata Motors and others declared non-working days, to maintain the balance in production and sales of vehicles.