After a difficult Q1 FY2018, when the CV industry was down 8.4% YoY – M&HCV trucks (-32%), M&HCV buses (-27.1%) and LCV buses (-14%) – OEMs are now resolutely heading towards happy times.
Sales numbers for September 2017, revealed by top CV OEMs, indicate that growth is here to stay, after month-on-month growth in July and August. While there are growing whispers in some corridors that the economy is slowing down, the uptick seen in the critical medium and heavy commercial vehicle (M&HCV) segment indicates otherwise, as demand for these vehicles is directly related to the overall economic activity in the country.
Higher freight load due to the ongoing festive season and greater infrastructure spend have ensured superior sales of haulage trucks and tippers, the two key product categories in the M&HCV segments. LCV sales also continue to grow as improved demand for last-mile connectivity in rural India and big cities are giving a fillip to sales of small commercial vehicles and pickups.
How the OEMs have fared
All CV manufacturers have registered strong sales across categories in September. The top two players Tata Motors and Ashok Leyland have recorded 29 and 28 percent growth respectively in overall CV sales.
For Tata Motors, which has recently embarked on an aggressive turnaround strategy to post smart growth and regain market share, its CV sales of 36,679 units will be a shot in its arm – up 29.33 percent year-on-year growth (September 2016: 28,360).
Tata Motors says it sold 12,259 M&HCV trucks (+25%) in September 2017. This pivotal segment witnessed strong growth in demand on the back of continuously increasing acceptance of Tata Motors’ SCR technology, infrastructure development led by government funding and restrictions on overloading, creating greater demand for new high-tonnage vehicles, especially for new launches of 37-tonne multi-axle trucks and 49-tonne tractor-trailers. The I&LCV (Intermediate & light commercial vehicle) segment has done well too with sales of 4,449 units (34%).
The pickup segment, which sold 5,569 units in September 2017, saw strong growth of 50 percent with the newly launched Tata Xenon Yodha gaining acceptance and demand across markets. The SCV cargo segment with sales at 10,040 units posted 40 percent growth, following good demand for the XL range. However, sales of passenger carriers (including buses) at 4,362 units, were flat.
Ashok Leyland registered a strong growth in its overall CV sales, growing by 28 percent with sales of 15,370 units (September 2016: 12,052) M&HCV sales rose strong 32 percent to 11,804 units (September 2016: 8,958) while LCVs posted 15 percent YoY growth at 3,566 units sold (September 2016: 3,094).
Mahindra & Mahindra continues with double-digit growth in the overall CV up 19 percent to 19,201 units (September 2016: 16,081). The M&HCV sales shoot up massive 143% 884 units albeit on a low year-ago base (September 2016: 364). The below-3.5T GVW segment grew 16 percent YoY, selling 17,803 units (September 2016: 15,282), while those in the above-3.5T GVW segment turned positive by 18 percent with sales of 514 units (September 2016: 435).
VE Commercial Vehicles’ domestic sales were up by 22.6 percent with total sales of 5,084 units (September 2016: 4, 148 units). The company will be looking to drive numbers with growing demand for its recently launched Pro 5000 Series of trucks.