Ford India, which is all set to launch the facelifted EcoSport SUV in the domestic market on November 9, has maintained its leader status in passenger vehicle (PV) exports from India. As per the latest export numbers released by apex industry body SIAM for the April-September 2017 period, Ford India is ahead of Hyundai Motor India by 11,822 units (see detailed export numbers table below).
The American carmaker, which was the No. 2 exporter in FY2017 with 158,469 units (+42.94%), below Hyundai Motor India which exported 167,120 units (+3.02%), half-way into FY2018, is well set to continue its export drive. Giving it the charge is the demand from Europe for the made-in-Sanand, second-generation new Figo hatchback (sold as the Ka+ in Europe).
While overall PV industry exports at 362,092 units, for the half-year FY2018, point to de-growth of 1.34 percent, Ford India with 82,347 units (+11.55%) has the biggest share, accounting for 22.72% of the shipments. Having begun FY2018 on a strong note with export of 17,531 units (+76.39%) in April 2017 to Hyundai’s 11,610 units (-3.80%), Ford India maintained a strong export trajectory until July 2017 (April: 17,531 / May: 16,761 / June: 14,679 / July: 17,657). However, exports have slowed down in August (7,963 units) and September (7,756 units).
Built at the integrated Sanand plant in Gujarat, the made-in-India Ka+ new model has been heavily revised for Europe, and gets standard equipment which includes six airbags, Ford’s Sync voice-activated phone and audio system, a smartphone docking station, a speed limiter and hill start assist. The Ka+ is offered only as a five-door hatchback, but with two trim levels. It is powered by a 1.2-litre, four-cylinder engine, which is closely related to the 1.25-litre engine used in the Fiesta, but is cheaper to make.
Ford India also exports the Ka compact sedan and standard sedan along with the EcoSport SUV (made at the Chennai plant) to foreign markets.
At No. 2 in the top exporters list is Hyundai Motor India, which has seen a decline in its overall overseas shipments in H1 FY2018. The Korean carmaker has, in the first six months of the fiscal, exported 70,525 units (-19.40%) to overseas markets. However, the company is seeing a month-on-month uptick in numbers and on October 24, the Chennai-based manufacturer bagged an order for 10,501 new Vernas from the Middle East, its biggest export order yet for a single model. Thanks to this order, expect the company to announce record October export numbers.
Hyundai, which currently exports its vehicles to 87 countries worldwide, ships the Eon, Grand i10, Xcent, Elite i20, i20 Active hatchbacks, the Creta SUV and now the new Verna. The key global markets for the company are Latin America (Mexico, Chile , Peru, Panama); Africa & Middle East (South Africa, Algeria, Tunisia) and Asia Pacific (Philippines, Nepal).
Maruti Suzuki India, which has its plants running at full capacity to cater to surging demand in the domestic market, has shipped 60,063 units (-0.77%) in H1 FY2018 to take third position in the list of PV exporters. The reason for the flat export growth is that the company is hard-pressed to cater to surging demand for its products in the domestic market (822,475 units / +16.62%). In April-September 2017, the company has produced a total of 865,169 units from its three plants at Gurgaon, Manesar and Gujarat (+14.63%).
German carmaker Volkswagen India, meanwhile, has recorded growth of 16.92% with export of 50,410 units. The company, which has for long been benefiting from its make in India growth strategy, exports cars from its Pune plant to over 35 countries across the four continents of Asia, Africa, North America and South America. Mexico continues to be its biggest export market, contributing over 80 percent of its overseas volumes.
The range of cars being exported includes left-hand drive as well as right-hand drive Polo and Vento cars. In FY2017, the company shipped a total of 86,852 units from India, registering 14.30 percent YoY growth.
GM India, which is focusing solely on export operations from its Talegaon plant since end-April 2017, has shipped 45,222 units (47.72%), enough to keep its operations in India running.
After failing to ignite much interest for its cars in the domestic market, the American carmaker had some time ago shifted its focus on exports to better utilise the manufacturing capacity investments made in the country. The strategy has reaped benefits as the Chevrolet Beat, which is sold as the Spark in many countries globally, has become one of the most exported cars from the country in 2016-17. GM India, which has begun exporting the sedan version of the Chevrolet Beat from end-June 5, also produces the left-hand-drive Chevrolet Beat hatchback for exports to markets like Mexico, Chile, Peru, Central American and Caribbean countries, Uruguay and Argentina. In FY2017, the company exported 70,969 units, which mark 88 percent YoY growth.
Nissan Motor India, the No. 5 on the PV export chart, despatched 32,198 units (-35.10%). The Japanese manufacturer is feeling the heat of export demand having shifted to the Flins plant in France which produces the new Micra which is seeing good demand in Europe.
The PV exporters club has recently got a new member: FCA India. Five months after it started local manufacture of its Jeep Compass SUV, the company has begun shipping right-hand-drive units. On October 25, FCA India shipped its very first batch of 600 units of the Jeep Compass from the Bombay Port Trust facility to Australia and Japan. The company says the Ranjangaon-produced SUV with over 65 percent local content will go to other international markets through the ongoing quarter of 2017. These could include the UK, New Zealand, and South Africa. Clearly, the action in the PV export market is going to turn more exciting in the months to come.
Exports help sustain Ford, VW, Nissan operations in India
As per the latest industry data from SIAM, other than GM, which has demitted domestic operations, export operations are helping sustain the India manufacturing operations for Ford, Volkswagen and Nissan.
Ford India, which has sold 45,472 units in the domestic market (-2.05%), has seen a smart 11.55% jump in foreign sales to 82,347 units.
Volkswagen India has exported more than twice what it has sold in India. Compared to export numbers at 50,410 units (+16.92%), the German carmaker’s India sales in the April-September 2017 period are 24,289 units (+4.12%).
Nissan Motor India though is having a tough time both in the domestic and export markets – the company sold 26,650 units in the domestic market (-8.23%) and exported 32,198 units (-35.10%).