India's connected car sales almost doubled in 2022 with around one in four cars having in-built cellular connectivity and services to enhance in-vehicle digital experience, a report showed on Tuesday.
Maruti Suzuki's Baleno was the best-selling connected car model in 2022, while MG, Hyundai, Kia and Tata Motors led in terms of connected car models' share in their portfolios.
Launched in 2019 with a price of less than Rs 20 lakh with over 50 features, MG's Hector was the first non-premium model in India to have embedded connectivity.
"Currently, embedded connectivity is primarily available in the top variants of a limited number of models. But it will trickle down to more models in the coming years, with 2025 expected to be the inflection point," said research analyst Abhik Mukherjee.
The services include connected car safety (like diagnostic reports, crash detection, intrusion alert and e-call), navigation (like live traffic, find my car, location-based search, geo-fencing and smart routing) and other advanced technologies (like remote vehicle control, voice command, multimedia content streaming and live weather).
With the rising adoption of electric vehicles (EVs), spread of 4G and 5G networks, race to differentiate in the premium segment and growing consumer awareness, auto OEMs are embedding high-speed connectivity services and experiences in their cars, the report mentioned.
In 2022, market leader Maruti Suzuki, which had a share of 41 per cent, introduced embedded connectivity in its NEXA range of models, such as Baleno, XL6, Ertiga, Brezza and Grand Vitara.
As a result, three of Maruti Suzuki's models were among India's top 10 best-selling connected models in 2022.
Other carmakers offering connected features include Tata Motors, Hyundai and Kia with models like the Tata Nexon EV, Hyundai Creta, Hyundai Venue, Kia Seltos and Kia Sonet.
Models from ultra-premium brands, like Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi, Jaguar, Land Rover, Jeep and Volvo, already come equipped with in-vehicle connectivity as a common feature.
"With Maruti Suzuki stepping up its focus on the segment, we expect rapid growth in the adoption of embedded telematics in new car sales," said senior analyst Soumen Mandal.
Another factor driving the increase is the growing penetration of EVs.
"Telematics plays a crucial role in an EV as it transmits different data related to vehicle and battery health in addition to basic services," Mandal added.
The report estimated that three out of four cars sold in India will have some level of in-built connectivity by the end of this decade.