Facing stiff competition from global brands in the slowdown-hit utility vehicle (UV) market, Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) and Tata Motors are struggling to arrest falling sales and retain market share.

Till about two years ago, M&M and Tata Motors were dominating the UV segment with a combined market share of 70 per cent plus. However, a spate of new launches, particularly compact SUVs (sport utility vehicles), in the past couple of years has changed the market landscape. “Global OEMs have made significant investments in India, and are determined to garner corresponding market shares. In the compact SUV segment, a few products have seen significant success. This will drive innovation also for local manufacturers, who will ensure that they remain relevant with new launches,” Wilfried Aulbur, managing partner, Roland Berger Strategy Consultants, said.

During the first-half of this fiscal, M&M’s market share in the UV segment fell to 42.8 per cent from 47.4 per cent a year-ago. Tata Motors’ share plummeted to 5.4 per cent from 9 per cent over the same period. While M&M remains the leader in the UV segment, Tata Motors has been pushed to the seventh position from fourth, a year-ago.

Meanwhile, Renault, Ford and General Motors have boosted their volumes aided by new launches and changing customer preferences. The three brands now occupy the fourth, fifth and sixth positions respectively. The highly successful Duster helped Renault increase its share to 10.3 per cent from 3.4 per cent a year-ago. Ford’s market share increased to 8.5 per cent from a negligible 0.3 per cent, mainly driven by its compact SUV EcoSport. General Motors saw its UV volumes rise after the launch of its multi-utility vehicle Enjoy, and its share increased to 6 per cent from 3.8 per cent.

According to Vinay Piparsania, Executive Director-marketing, sales & service, Ford India, compact SUVs have caught the fancy of aspirational Indian middle-class due to attractive global design and styling, quality and reliability. Also, they suit well not only for city driving, but also for off-road needs during week-end trips.

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