The sedan market in the country is slowly diminishing. Many manufacturers have stopped their sedans products for India, and those in the market do not have high numbers. In many cases products that are discontinued are replaced with crossovers, MPVs and SUVs. Why? In this article, we are going to find the reason behind these low sedan sales.
Over selling and saturation
Sedans were splurging during the 2000s to the 2010s. India had many sedans like the Mitsubishi Lancer, Ford Ikon, Fiat Linea, Nissan Sunny, Tata Manza, Volkswagen Jetta and Passat, Renault Fluence, Ford Fiesta, Honda Accord, Toyota Corolla to the recently discontinued Honda Civic. These cars looked elegant and were a lifestyle statement. The reason why they sold so well back then was that cars were considered or perceived as luxury. Sedans were where the manufacturer dictated the terms of how a car should be. And charged in some cases a premium too.
Slowly as now the purchasing power has increased and people have started buying a car because they want a mode of transport the volume of sales in the complete automobile industry has gone up. People do have certain expectations to be met through the car that they buy and the manufacturer is no longer in a position where he could decide to not provide customers with those expectations. Also, the number of manufacturers has increased and this has led to competition between them.
Cabin and Boot Space
In a sedan the boot space and cabin space are independent. Usually, sedans have a bigger boot and the cabin is designed towards comfort. This also means that the car is longer and space when the boot is not in use is going to waste. With the excise cut under 4-meter Sedans either have to compromise on boot space or shrink the cabin a bit. This also took away the incentive of making a sedan with a larger footprint than a sub-four meter. Many companies do have sub-four meter sedans on sale like the Maruti Dzire, Honda Amaze, Tata Tigor and Hyundai Aura but they aren’t getting the number still that a affordable hatchback or SUV gets for the company.
Sedans are low and they do face the problem of ground clearance. On bad roads, a sedan would scrape because of its long length and low profile tyres. Earlier on people with plush sedans have converted to SUV owners for this reason. If a buyer is living in a area where the roads are bad, he will mostly consider a sub-four meter or C-segment SUV which can deal with the roads and be more comfortable too.
As a manufacturer, SUVs are a great way to increase sales. They look big and seem like you have paid less money for something that is that big. The cabin space is huge and feels roomy as there is more headroom. The boot space is customizable by folding seats depending on the type of SUV you have, if it is a seven seater. Also, manufacturers can now get cars under 4 meter and still charge a premium in the name of features that many sedans still don’t have on offer. The whole package of an SUV seems to be very attractive for a buyer who is going to make this big purchase seem justified in his mind.
In the end, we as customers today want cars that can do it all. SUVs encompass – luxury, comforts, convenience, value for money, safety, space and most importantly they now command the PRESTIGE of owning a big car, which once sedans had a monopoly on. There are some good sedans still there in India but there is a SUV or MPV in that price-point that will always seem to make more sense.
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