Like the uptick in India’s GDP, India’s carmakers too are reporting improved sales numbers in the month gone by. From the looks of it, the buzz is gradually getting back into the passenger vehicle (PV) market and the improved sales numbers in November 2017 are proof of that. Nonetheless, the numbers are to be looked at in the context of a year-ago low base and a tough November 2016 when the industry and the country was hit by the big sales speedbreaker: demonetisation.
Maruti Suzuki India, which controls the fortunes of the PV industry, reported sales of 144,297 units (+14.3%) and it looks well set to notch its best-ever sales for a fiscal year. In FY2017, the company had sold a total of 1,568,603 units (domestic + exports). Given the current pace of its sales, Maruti should easily surpass this number. With four months of FY2018 still to go, the company has sold a total of 1,187,735 units (+14.6%). As is known, the company is gunning for 2 million sales annually by the year 2020. And it has 2.5 million sales in its crosshairs by FY2023.
For Maruti, its quintet of compact cars (Swift, Celerio, Ignis, Baleno and Dzire) and utility vehicles (Gypsy, Ertiga, S-Cross and Vitara Brezza) have helped overall numbers. At 65,447 units sold (November 2016: 49,431), the five cars posted 32.4 percent year-on-year growth while the UVs, with 23,072 units, clocked 34 percent YoY growth (November 2016: 17,215).
Sales for the entry-level hatchback duo of the Alto and Wagon R, which sold 38,204 units were flat (November 2016: 38,886). If there is a growing concern for Maruti, then it would the declining sales of the Ciaz premium sedan. In November 2017, the Ciaz sold a total of 4,009 units, down a sizeable 26.2 percent (November 2016: 5,443). Bringing up the rear are the two vans, the Omni and the Eeco which together sold 13,565 units, up 10.8 percent (November 2016: 12,238).
Hyundai Motor India, the No. 2 passenger vehicle player, sold 44,008 units in November, which marks 10 percent YoY growth (November 2016: 40,016). Its top performers across segments include the Grand i10, Elite i20 and the Creta SUV, all having put up a good show in their respective segments, just as they did in the recent past. Also, the third-generation Hyundai Verna sedan, launched a few months ago in August, is garnering good numbers for the company, having sold a cumulative 15,534 units in just over two months until October 2017.
According to Rakesh Srivastava, director, sales and marketing, “Hyundai’s volumes of 44,008 units is a growth of 10 percent with strong performance of the newly launched bestseller next-generation Verna along with Grand i10, Elite i20 and Creta. Due to strong pull of festive demand on the strength of a buoyant rural market, we hope to build on this positive momentum with cumulative retail sales of 200,000 units for the September to December 2017 period. We have also strengthened our export with first despatch of 2,022 units of made-in-India Vernas to Middle-East markets from November 2017.”
Tata Motors is on a roll. The company’s passenger vehicle division sold 17,157 units, which marks smart YoY growth of 35 percent (November 2016: 12,736), essentially led by the strong growth momentum of new-generation Tata cars like the Tiago, Hexa, Tigor and the Nexon.
To meet the growing demand for the Nexon compact SUV, Tata Motors has ramped up its production and earlier this week rolled out the 10,000th Nexon from its Ranjangaon facility. Cumulative PV sales in the domestic market for the April-November 2017 period are 115,049 units, a growth of 13 percent (April-November 2016: 101,712).
Mahindra & Mahindra has made the most of a buoyant November. The company PV segment (which includes UVs, cars and vans) sold 16,030 vehicles as against 13,198 vehicles during November 2016, a growth of 21 percent.
Commenting on the monthly performance, Rajan Wadhera, president, Automotive Sector, M&M, said, “We are happy to be in a positive growth phase for November 2017, which is usually a lean period after the festive season. Our passenger and small commercial vehicles growth for the month of November has been very encouraging. We expect our growth momentum to continue on the back of some recent refresh launches as well as the positivity of our product portfolio.”
Toyota Kirloskar Motor sold a total of 12,734 units in the domestic market in November 2017, a YoY increase of 13 percent (November 2016: 11,309). Commenting on the monthly sales, N Raja, director and senior VP (Sales & Marketing) said, “November has been promising for us with double-digit growth. TKM has sustained a positive growth since last three months. With maximum utilisation of Plant 1 and maintaining lean inventory, we are trying to reduce the waiting period of the Innova and Fortuner, which continue to witness strong demand in the market. The Etios Liva has also done really well this month and has positively contributed towards the overall domestic sales growth. We expect the positive trend in customer demand to continue in the year-end sales as well.”
Honda Cars India is also on a high, having registered monthly domestic sales of 11,819 units in November 2017, a handsome 47 percent YoY growth (November 2016: 8,029). For the fiscal’s first eight months, cumulative sales total 117,322 units, up 19 percent, against 98,451 units in April-November 2016.
The WR-V was the best-seller for Honda with 3,521 units, followed by the popular City (3,315), Jazz (2,039), Amaze (1,976), BR-V (793), Brio (154) and CR-V (21)
Commenting on the sales, Yoichiro Ueno, president and CEO, Honda Cars India, “Last year Honda Cars India’s sales in November were severely affected by demonetisation. Although November volumes this year have shown improvement over last year, the market is still to recover fully from the GST-related changes affecting consumers at large. On a cumulative basis, HCIL sales have grown by 19 percent, backed by strong performance of our models across markets. It gives us the confidence that we will have good growth in this fiscal year.
Ford India displayed an enthusiastic performance with great boost coming in from its newly introduced EcoSport facelift compact SUV launched on November 9. The company registered total domestic sales of 7,777 units, posting growth of 13.10 percent (November 2016: 6,876).
According to Anurag Mehrotra, president and managing director, Ford India, ”November was all about the new EcoSport. Our fun, stylish, powerful and connected compact SUV is winning the hearts and minds of customers, not only with its introductory price but the whole host of features. We are confident of maintaining this sales momentum getting into 2018, despite macroeconomic indicators suggesting volatility in inflation and crude prices impacting the industry growth over the near-medium term.”