Three car makers cornered gains in the expanding domestic car market during the calendar year 2017. Maruti Suzuki was the biggest gainer in the world's fifth-largest passenger vehicle market last year, followed by Tata Motors and Honda Cars. New and successful launches helped these three car makers to expand their market. Suzuki promoted Maruti ended 2017 with a market share of 49.9 per cent against 47.3 per cent in 2016. This is the highest share seen by the company in over a decade. Maruti's gain is helped by the 15 per cent growth in domestic sales (to 1.6 million vehicles) on the back of demand for its popular models like Baleno, Brezza and the new Dzire (launched in mid-2017). Since the domestic market grew at around nine per cent last year, only those with a higher growth managed to gain share. Therefore, companies like Hyundai and Toyota expanded sales but did not expand their market size. Tata Motors clocked a growth of 18.8 per cent in domestic sales to 169,852 units during 2017 riding on three new launches — Hexa, Tigor, and Nexon. The company closed the year with a 5.3 per cent share against a share of 4.8 per cent in 2016. Japanese car maker Honda, which launched the new City and the urban crossover WRV (both in the first quarter of 2017 calendar year), reversed the declining trend last year. Its annual growth in 2017 stood at 14.5 per cent to 178,755 vehicles.
Accordingly, its market share went up from 5.3 per cent in 2016 to 5.6 per cent in 2017.Korean auto major Hyundai, the country's second-largest car maker, expanded sales by over five per cent in 2017 to 527,320 vehicles in the domestic market. However, the company is facing a capacity constraint (its plants operated at 98 per cent in 2017) and it is visible in the single-digit growth. Hyundai will have to be content with single-digit growth even in 2018. Rakesh Srivastava, director (sales and marketing) at Hyundai, said that the company has clocked growth every year in recent history unlike the volatile performance of a number of peer companies. The company launched its new Verna sedan in August last year. The third-largest player, Mahindra and Mahindra (M&M), saw a flat performance in sales volume during 2017 and that also brought its share down to 7.5 per cent compared to 8.2 per cent in 2016. M&M did not launch any new product in 2017. Japanese car maker Toyota also did not launch any new vehicle in India last year but grew volumes by four per cent and closed the year with a 4.3 per cent share, down from 4.5 per cent in 2016. French car maker Renault was the only player among the top ten to register a double-digit volume decline of 15 per cent in 2017. Demand for Kwid, its most sold vehicle, softened. It closed 2017 with a 3.5 per cent share against 4.5 per cent in 2016. Its alliance partner, Nissan, saw a marginal volume decline of 0.6 per cent and had a share of 1.7 per cent, down from 1.8 per cent in 2016. Volkswagen's sales grew by a per cent and it had a share of 1.5 per cent, marginally down from 1.6 per cent in 2016.