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Honda's Mobilio outsells Maruti's Ertiga in August

Honda has dethroned Ertiga, one of Maruti Suzuki's best-sellers, to emerge as the leader in the compact multi-utility vehicle segment.

Honda sold 5,530 Mobilios last month against 5,491 Ertigas, according to the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers, the country's apex automobile body.

The Mobilio is a multi-seater people mover designed on the platform of Honda's hatchback Brio. The Mobilio is Rs 57,000 more expensive than the Ertiga petrol model's base variant in Mumbai.

The upheaval comes eight months after the Honda City bested Hyundai's Verna to become the country's biggest selling sedan. By August, Honda had 47 per cent share of India's mid-size sedan market.

During April-August, the Verna's sales dipped 26 per cent to 15,462 against a 209 per cent rise in sales of the City at 30,447, according to the SIAM.

"We have received good response to the Mobilio with 18,000-19,000 bookings. Our effort will be to maintain the excitement around the product," said Jnaneswar Sen, senior vice-president for marketing and sales at Honda Cars India. An email to Maruti Suzuki went unanswered.

Honda's other high-volume car Amaze, a compact sedan, has, however, been lagging behind Maruti Suzuki's Dzire, which clocks sales of over 15,000. Honda ramped up production of the mini-sedan as sales surged to over 9,100 in August.

Maruti Suzuki has the largest sales network in the country with over 1,358 outlets whereas Honda's dealer count is 187 with plans to raise it to 230 next year. In response to Honda's strike on the Ertiga, Maruti Suzuki will launch the Ciaz, a challenger to the City, in the next few weeks.

Multi-utility vehicle sales have seen demand surging after the success of the Ertiga. Other car companies like Fiat, Hyundai, Renault and Mahindra & Mahindra are planning to launch cars in this segment.