It seems anything the industry did in November 2017 will be benchmarked by the biggest sales speedbreaker of all time – demonetisation which was initiated in November 2016 and went on to stifle numbers for the next four to five months. Thus it comes to bear that November 2017 sales, even though they are robust ones and across all vehicle segments, have to be seen in the light of poor year-ago sales. We beg to differ though.
Look at last month’s number through the prism of growth and you will see that the Indian automobile industry is poised to press the accelerator pedal on the sales highway. Overall industry numbers across segments, at 1,939,671 units, are a strong 24 percent growth comprising 275,417 passenger vehicles (+14.29%), 68,846 commercial vehicles (+50.43%), 60,131 three-wheelers (++78.63%) and 1,535,277 two-wheelers (+23.49%). What’s not to like?
The PV segment, always the one in the news because of its strong family motoring connect, is firing on all cylinders. Of the 275,417 units sold, 181,395 were cars (+4.49%), 77,824 SUVs (+44.65%) and 16,198 vans (+19.34%). And things can only get better in the coming months of the fiscal. We predict the industry crossing the 3.3 units million mark this fiscal.
The big PV growth driver is, of course, Maruti Suzuki India – of the 2,186,199 PVs sold by industry in the April-November 2017 period, Maruti accounts for 1,101,900 or 50.40 percent. Likewise, in November, the country’s largest carmaker sold 144,297 units (+14.32%) or 52.39 percent. Clearly, this company has a ‘problem’ of plenty and its plants are running at full capacity to feed a hungry lot of buyers. Seven of its models rule the roost in the Top 10 list, a sight analysts are now rather familiar with.
Topping the charts is the entry-level hatchback, the Maruti Alto, which sold 24,166 units to post growth of 3.62 percent (November 2016: 23,320). The other six Marutis in the Top 10 list are the Dzire, Baleno, Vitara Brezza, Wagon R, Swift and the Celerio. These seven models together account for a total of 110,745 units or 76.74 percent of the carmaker’s total PV sales in the month.
Maruti’s third-gen Dzire compact sedan takes the No. 2 spot, clocking 18,540 units (Diesel: 7,919 and Petrol: 10,621), and registering growth of 7.67 percent (November 2016: 17,218). The car has enchanted buyers in the segment with its new styling, contemporary features, efficient engines, and the option of manual as well as automated manual transmissions.
At No. 3 is the Maruti Baleno, which went home to 17,769 buyers, a notable 60.18 percent year-on-year growth (November 2016: 11,093). The premium hatchback comes in a contemporary and attractive form, offering a host of features like projector headlamps, touch-screen infotainment system, as well as the option of a sportier 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol motor in its RS avatar.
The Maruti Vitara Brezza grabs the No. 4 spot, selling 14,458 units, jumping four positions over its No 8 rank a year ago, and up by a solid 48.76 percent (November 2016: 9,719). While the hot segment is seeing good action in the form of latest entrants including the Tata Nexon (November 2016: 4,163) and the Ford EcoSport facelift (November 2017: 5,474), Maruti’s compact SUV seems hard to be dethroned with the brand’s sheer trust levels with the domestic mass market.
At No. 5 is the tall-boy, Maruti Wagon R which sold 14,038 units, declining 9.81 percent (November 2016: 15,566), and is followed at the No. 6 slot by the Maruti Swift, which sold 13,337 units, down 8.61 percent compared to year-ago sales (November 2016: 14,594). The immensely popular Swift is due for a massive update in the form of the third-generation model, based on a new light-weight platform, and will be introduced in the market at the upcoming Auto Expo to be held in February 2018.
The Hyundai Grand i10 hatchback is at No. 7 position, selling 13,249 units, posting a growth of 19.80 percent (November 2016: 11,059). The car offers customer-liked features, including electronic start-stop system, audio with built-in memory and is a popular choice in the segment, owing to its city friendly nature.
At No. 8 is Hyundai’s Elite i20 premium hatchback, which went home to 10,236 buyers, growing 14.79 percent (November 2016: 8,917) and its bigger sibling, Hyundai’s Creta SUV took the No. 9 position and found 8,528 homes. Both the Elite i20 and the Creta have been consistently doing well for the Korean carmaker, and are liked for their feature-loaded propositions.
The final spot in the tally is bagged by Maruti’s offering in the B-segment, the Maruti Celerio, which sold 8,437 units, and registered de-growth of 11.58 percent (November 2016: 9,543).
The year 2017 is set to end in a few days and while most automakers are offering mouth-watering discounts, the penchant of PV buyers to buy a new car in the first month of the new year could play spoiler, albeit marginally, in December. Nonetheless, with the economy gradually GDP-ing to recovery, smiles back on consumers’ face and the demon going out of demonetisation, the months ahead should be just what vehicle manufacturers have been wishing for. Stay tuned for good news. . .