With the Indian auto industry’s sales hitting a 16-year low in December 2016, due to the cash crunch brought about by the government’s demonetisation strategy from November 9 along with muted consumer sentiment both in rural and urban markets, a little-known fact is that the domestic passenger vehicle sector has missed hitting the 3-million units sales mark for the first time by a small margin – 33,363 units. Cumulative January-December 2016 PV sales are 2,966,637 units, a year-on-year growth of 7.01 percent.
Autocar Professional had on January 2, 2017, estimated the likelihood of overall PV numbers missing the 3-million mark narrowly.
Will FY2017 scale a new high?
For the first nine months of the ongoing FY2016-17 fiscal, total PV numbers add up to 2,243,525, marking a year-on-year growth of 8.59 percent. This number is 756,475 units short of the 3 million mark. Will Indian automakers be able to sell these many passenger vehicles in the next three months, till end-March 2017?
The answer may lie in some moves by the industry and the government. New models always get PV buyers excited and a couple of them are only a few days away from launch. Three days from now, Maruti Suzuki India will launch the premium Ignis urban hatchback, which has already created a buzz in the market. Powered by the same 1.2-litre K-series petrol engine as in the Swift and the Baleno, as well as the 1.3-litre DDiS diesel engine, the Ignis is feature-laden and spacious.
Then on January 18, Tata Motors will launch its new flagship, the Hexa crossover, in five trim levels. Attractive on the outside, well appointed inside and also feature-loaded, the Hexa strikes a chord at many levels. The big Tata is a comfortable family car and the lavish use of high-grade materials delivers a sense of luxury that would certainly appeal to premium car buyers.
February 1 could be a big day for the automotive sector as the finance minister presents Budget 2018-19. This year’s Budget is expected to come laden with SOPs both for the Indian populace and industry, as the government looks to kick-start the economy which has seen its GDP growth slow down to 7.1 percent, its slowest in the last six quarters. Watch this space for more.