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5 Top Car Brands in India

By Juhi Walia
06 December 2023, 10:31 PM

India's automotive scene has come a long way in the past two decades. It has moved from an era of ambassadors and fiat premiers to now becoming the world's fourth largest automobile market. 

Automotive sales plummeted during the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing chip shortage in 2019 and 2020 but started picking up again in 2021. With the country's increasing purchasing power, manufacturers are rolling out new models frequently to cater to every segment and price point.

Buying a new vehicle can be overwhelming in the beginning. There is a lot to consider:

  • The required seating capacity
  • Primary usage
  • Luggage space
  • Safety features

Your budget also plays a direct role in deciding what options are available to you.

A financial expert of any reput should tell you that your vehicle budget should ideally be less than 50% of your annual income. It would be best to consider the additional expenses accompanying owning a vehicle, such as running costs and the car insurance policy

With a lot to choose from comes a lot of confusion, so let's look at the top 5 car brands in India to help you narrow down your hunt for your next set of wheels.

1. Maruti Suzuki

Maruti Suzuki India Limited was founded in 1981 and is based out of Delhi. It was formerly known as Maruti Udyog Limited. The Government of India owned it till 2003, post which it sold the company to a Japanese automotive company named Suzuki Motor Corporation.

Maruti has a market share of around 43%  in the Indian Market, in FY 2021-22. Maruti Suzuki currently has three manufacturing facilities in India in Gurugram, Manesar and Gujarat, allowing it to manufacture 2,250,000 units annually.

This brand is best known for its compact hatchbacks and SUVs and targets the average Indian consumer who wants the best bang for their buck. Some of its popular models are Swift, Alto 800, which replaced the iconic 800, the Baleno, Ertiga and Brezza. 

Maruti also has premium offerings such as the Ciaz, S-Cross and XL6, which it sells across the country via its NEXA dealerships.

2. Hyundai

Hyundai Motor India Ltd is a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Company based in South Korea. It is India's second-largest automotive company, with a market share of around 15% in FY 2021-22.

Hyundai Motor Company entered the Indian market in 1996 with Santro with Shahrukh Khan as its brand ambassador; the rest is history. Hyundai India currently has two manufacturing plants in Tamil Nadu with a total annual production capacity of 7,40,000 units. This works out to a car rolling out of the production line every 31 seconds.

Fast forward to 2022, and Hyundai has been making heads turn in every segment of the automotive passenger industry. The i10 and the i20 are solid hatchbacks packed with features. The following vehicles mentioned below are Hyundai's offerings in the SUV Crossover segment:

  • Venue
  • Creta
  • Alcazar
  • Tuscon

Aura and the Verna are the Hyundai sedans currently sold in India. 

Hyundai is also one of the first manufacturers to offer a fully electric vehicle in India, namely the Kona.

3. Tata Motors

Tata Motors was founded way back in 1945 as a locomotive manufacturer. It entered the commercial vehicle market in 1954 with a joint venture with Daimler-Benz of Germany. It was not until 1991 that Tata motors entered the passenger car market with Tata Sierra, an SUV based on the Tata Mobile platform.

This was followed by Tata Estate in 1992, Tata SUMO in 1994 and Tata Safari in 1998. 1998 was also when it launched Tata Indica, India's first fully indigenous Indian passenger car for the mass market.

Today Tata holds around 12% of the total market share in the Indian car market. It has manufacturing facilities in multiple cities, such as Jamshedpur, Pune, Lucknow, and Sanand, and more than 250 dealerships across the country.

Tata's vehicles are not only the cheapest in the market but are also some of the most reliable and safest cars. Tata Nexon and Tata Altroz are among the few vehicles with a 5-star NCAP rating in India.

Tata also offers many options in every passenger car segment. Its most popular models are:

  • Tigor
  • Nexon
  • Harrier
  • Tata Safari

Tata is the only manufacturer offering an EV in the Hatchback segment, namely Tigor EV. Nexon EV is currently the most popular and affordable EV in the SUV crossover segment in the country.

4. KIA

KIA is another South Korean Manufacturer founded in 1944 but did not venture into the Indian Market until 2019. Its manufacturing facility is based in Anantapur District, Andhra Pradesh, spread over 536 acres.

Even though KIA offers a limited number of models in the Indian market, it is one of the best in every segment it belongs to. Sonet is KIA's offering in the SUB 4-meter SUV segment; Seltos is a full-sized SUV. KIA also manufactures two MPVs for the Indian market: Carens and the Carnival.

KIA is also one of the few manufacturers in the country offering an EV, the EV6, alongside Hyundai and Tata Motors. In June 2022, KIA achieved the milestone of selling 500,000 vehicles in India.

5. Mahindra

Mahindra is a brand that needs no introduction in India. It was established in 1945 as Mahindra and Muhammad but was later changed to Mahindra and Mahindra.

The brand is synonymous with ruggedness, durability and the ability to drive them anywhere. It holds a market share of 7.40%. The low share is primarily because it caters to a niche market of vehicles.

Mahindra Scorpio and Bolero are two of the most common vehicles on the road. Mahindra Thar is one of the most sought lifestyle SUVs in the market today, with a long waiting list.

Marazzo and Alturas G4 are the more premium offerings from Mahindra in the 7-seater segment. 

Mahindra is also breaking into the EV segment with its upcoming e-SUV XUV400, which will rival Tata Nexon EV in the sub-4 meter SUV segment.

In Review

So, this is a quick introduction to the top brands in the Indian automotive market to help you narrow down your search when looking to buy your next car.

Do research essential items such as:

  • The car insurance policy options available to you
  • How strong the service network of the brand you are considering is in your area
  • The availability of spare parts and so on

Read more -


1. What is the difference between the ex-showroom price and the on-road price?

The ex-showroom price is the list price of a vehicle at the showroom and is usually what manufacturers advertise. The on-road price is what it would cost you to get the car to drive on the road legally. This includes the cost of registration, state road taxes and insurance.

2. How do I determine the right vehicle for me?

It all depends on your budget and usage. If you have a small family and your primary use is going to be within the city you live in, a hatchback would be best for you. It is easy to manoeuvre around traffic, easy to park, more fuel efficient, etc.

If you intend to travel with a lot of luggage, a sedan would be best for you. It is comfortable, stable at higher highway speeds and has plenty of boot space.

3. Should I go in for a new vehicle or a pre-owned one?

If you have financial constraints, a pre-owned vehicle will save you a lot  but do your research before you decide on one. Understand why the car is being sold in the first place. Has it been in any prior accidents? Has it been serviced regularly and maintained well?

If money is not a constraint, a new vehicle is a way to go as it would be reliable, come with the latest tech, and have a higher insured declared value (IDV).

4. Is it mandatory to buy insurance for my vehicle in India?

Operating a vehicle without valid insurance is illegal as per the Motor Vehicles Act, 1998, and can attract hefty fines.

5. Should I purchase car insurance through the dealer or directly from the insurance company?

It is always beneficial for you to get your insurance directly from the insurance company. You eliminate the middleman, saving some money in the process and are not restricted to the insurer they are tied up with. 

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