Festive October lights up car sales to over 336,000 units and 29% growth

India’s passenger vehicle growth story keeps getting better. With both Navratri and Diwali in October, there were bound to be fireworks on the sales front.

By Ajit Dalvi calendar 01 Nov 2022 Views icon23164 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp

When a month packs the twin festivals of Navratri and Diwali, which is when vehicle buying is favoured in India, there are bound to be fireworks. October 2022’s wholesale numbers for the passenger vehicle (PV) industry for 14 out of 16 manufacturers at 336,298 units (up 29% YoY) constitute the fifth month in a row that despatches have crossed the 300,000-unit mark.

Cumulative sales for the first seven months of the fiscal at 22,69,633 units lay the firm foundation for the sustained drive to attain best-ever PV sales for a fiscal. If this pace of growth and sales momentum continues in the remaining five months of FY2023, India PV Inc is well on its way to surpass FY2019’s 3.37 million units by a fair margin.

The top six players – Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai, Tata Motors, Mahindra & Mahindra, Kia India and Toyota Kirloskar Motor – together account for 302,319 units or 90% of total sales in October, of which PV market leader has a 42% share. Let’s take a closer look at how they fared.

April 2022: 293,168
May 2022: 294,393
June 2022: 320,985
July 2022: 341,370
Aug 2022: 328,376
Sep 2022: 355,043
Oct 2022: 336,298
Total: 22,69,633 units

The top six players – Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai, Tata Motors, Mahindra & Mahindra, Kia India and Toyota Kirloskar Motor – together account for 302,319 units or 90% of total sales in October, of which PV market leader has a 42% share (see OEM sales data table at the end of this analysis).

Let’s take a closer look at how they fared.

Maruti Suzuki India: 140,337 units – 29% YoY
The bellwether of the Indian PV industry registered sales of 140,337 units, up 29% on October 2021’s 108,991 units but 5.42% down on September 2022’s 148,380 units. The company said, “The shortage of electronic components had a minor impact on the production of vehicles, mainly in domestic models.”

What’s augurs well for Maruti Suzuki is that demand is gradually returning, albeit slowly, for its entry level cars – the Alto and S-Presso. The carmaker, which posted YoY growth for all its four sub-segments other than vans, saw combined Alto-S-Presso sales of 24,936 units, up 14.22% (October 2021: 21,831).

The highest growth though has come for the six-pack comprising the Baleno, Celerio, Dzire (and Tour S), Ignis, Swift and Wagon R which with 73,685 units, notched strong 51% growth (October 2021: 21,831).

The UVs – new Brezza, Ertiga, S-Cross, XL6 and the new Grand Vitara – contributed 30,971 units, up 14.36% on year-ago 27,081 units but down 4.92% on September 2022’s 32,574 units. Maruti Suzuki is currently seeing strong demand for the recently launched Grand Vitara and the new Brezza..

What will come as some relief for Maruti is that the premium Ciaz sedan saw demand grow sharply by 76% to 1,884 units from 1,069 units in October 2021. The Eeco van category is where the sole decline is seen – the 8,861 units in October 2022 are down 14% on October 2021’s 10,320 units. However, on the cumulative sales front, the Eeco remains in positive territory with 78,371 units, up 29%.

Hyundai Motor India: 48,001 units 30% YoY
Hyundai Motor India recorded despatches of 48,001 units, up 30% YoY (October 2021: 37,021). The Creta midsize SUV and the Venue compact SUV, both of which are regulars in the Top 10 best-selling UVs chart, are the big sellers for the Korean carmaker each month.

Commenting on the October numbers, Tarun Garg, Director (Sales, Marketing & Service), Hyundai Motor India said, “With the ever-improving semi-conductor situation, we were able to meet the demand of our customers and deliver their Hyundai cars during the festive season. Our new models like Tucson continue to receive an overwhelming customer response with excellent booking numbers.”

For the first seven months of FY2023, Hyundai’s cumulative sales are 333,006 units, up 19.13% YoY.

Tata Motors: 45,217 units 33% YoY
In third place and hard on Hyundai’s wheels is Tata Motors with 45,217 units, up 33% (October 2021: 33,925), and just 2,784 units behind India’s No. 2 PV OEM in October. On the cumulative sales front, Tata Motors, with 317,667 units in the April-October 2022 period, is 15,339 units behind Hyundai. Clearly, the battle between these two OEMs is set to intensify in the coming months as Hyundai will try to protect its turf and Tata usurp the No. 2 position.

October 2022 saw Tata sell 41,146 IC-engine cars and 4,071 EVs. This is the highest monthly sales for Tata Motors’ EV portfolio which gives it a strong advantage over its PV rivals. At present, it has three models – the Nexon EV, Tigor EV and the fleet-only XPres-T EV – which will soon be joined by the Tiago EV.

The company, which has targeted production and sale of over 500,000 PVs, including 50,000 EVs, is well on track towards achieving its goal. At end-October, it is 182,333 units away from that target – Tata is averaging monthly sales of 45,381 units which means the half-a-million units goal is clean in its crosshairs.

Mahindra & Mahindra: 32,298 units 60% YoY
With the surging consumer demand for SUVs, it’s not surprising that Mahindra & Mahindra with its 11 UVs and all-electric Verito sedan, has notched 60% YoY growth in October. Last month’s total sales were 32,298 units, which is an additional 12,168 units over October 2021’s 20,130 units. They comprised 32,226 UVs (up 61%, October 2021: 20,034) with the e-Verito adding another 72 units.

M&M’s October 2022 numbers are its second-best monthly sales this fiscal, both overall as well as for UVs (September 2022: 34,508 units including 34,262 UVs).

M&M’s best-selling products at present are the flagship XUV700, Scorpio, both in its N and Classic model form, XUV300, the Bolero and Bolero Neo. With improved supplies of semiconductors and M&M judiciously managing its production operations it is expected that the waiting periods for most high-selling SUVs will come down.

According to Veejay Nakra, President, Automotive Division, M&M Ltd., “Our sales volume continued to grow in October on the back of strong festive demand. We sold 32,226 SUVs in October, registering a growth of 61% fuelled by robust demand across our portfolio.

M&M’s best-selling products at present are the flagship XUV700, Scorpio, both in its N and Classic model form, XUV300, the Bolero and Bolero Neo. With improved supplies of semiconductors and M&M judiciously managing its production operations it is expected that the waiting periods for most high-selling SUVs will come down.

Seven months into the fiscal, M&M has sold a total of 199,278 UVs, which makes for remarkable 78 YoY growth (April-October 2021: 112,050 units). This total is already 89% of the company’s total sales of 223,682 UVs in FY2022, which were its best-ever UV sales.

With substantial number of bookings in hand, M&M could be looking at hitting the 350,000 UV sales mark for the first time in FY2023.

Kia India: 23,323 units – 43% YoY
Kia India, the fifth-placed OEM in the sales ranking table, sold a total of 23,323 units in October 2022, up 43% (October 2021: 16,331). The sales were led by its best-selling UV, the Seltos (9,777), followed by the Sonet compact SUV (7,614), Carens MPV (5,479), Carnival MPV (301) and the electric EV6 (152).

Cumulative sales for Kia in the April-October period are 155,285 units, which is a strong 48% increase over year-ago sales of 104,714 units. These comprise 59,817 Seltos, 52,716 Sonets, 40,509 Carens, 2,075 Carnivals and 168 EV6s. For the first nine months of the year, Kia has crossed the 200,000 sales mark with a total of 215,347 units.   

Toyota Kirloskar Motor: 13,143 units – 6% YoY
At No. 6 is Toyota Kirloskar Motor, the last of the players with five-figure sales in October: 13,143 units. This is a 6% YoY increase over October 2021’s 12,440 units. According to Atul Sood, Associate Vice-President, Sales, and Strategic Marketing, TKM , “Demand continues to grow as we witness strong bookings for the Urban Cruiser Hyryder, which has received a phenomenal response with booking orders exceeding our expectations. Our flagship models like the Innova Crysta petrol, Fortuner, Legender, Camry and Vellfire continue to garner good traction both in terms of enquiries as well as orders. The model change Glanza has also been consistently performing well since its introduction in April this year.”

Making the most of improved market sentiment
Of the remaining OEMs, nearly all have benefited from the much-improved market sentiment as well as the festive season. Honda Cars India sold 9,543 units, up 18%, with the Amaze sedan being the best-seller last month. MG Motor India reported retail sales of 4,367 units, a growth of 53% which comes on the back of the company achieving its highest production output at 5,008 units, including 1,000 units of its MG ZS EV, also an all-time high for the carmaker.

Meanwhile, both Volkswagen India (with Taigun SUV and Virtus sedan) and Skoda Auto India (with Kushaq SUV and Slavia sedan) are benefiting from the rollout of new models. While VW India sold 3,510 units last month to post 14% growth, Skoda has 3,389 units to its October tally, up 11 percent.

Growth outlook: SUV-charged PV sales in pedal-to-metal mode
October 2022’s rapid-fire sales can only spell good news for Indian carmakers as also the overall industry as the benefits percolate to several ancillary sectors. Despite inflationary trends, the PV market is shining as a beacon of hope for India Auto Inc which has weathered a couple of difficult years with growth stunted by the pandemic-induced loss of sales.

Now, with much-improved supplies of semiconductors, PV manufacturers ensured that showrooms were well stocked in October, particularly with popular models even as automobile dealers offered the good-value deals in a market thronging with new models and scores of variants, sold at multiple price-points.

The surging demand for SUVs, which now account for nearly one out of every two cars sold in India, is reflected in the new charge in the PV market. All OEMs, with a strong and fresh SUV product portfolio are firing on all cylinders. While the compact SUV segment remains high on the consumer radar, the growing demand for midsize SUVs is apparent. Meanwhile, there is also a smart uptick for executive sedans. With the PV industry having cumulative pending orders of around 750,000 units at the end of October 2022, expect the remaining five months of FY2023 to be high on numbers.  

Clearly, it’s an exciting time out there in India’s booming passenger vehicle market. Keep watching this space.

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