Not an August month for car and bike OEMs
Automakers will be brainstorming to find out new ways to pep up sales, offering discounts and also readying a flurry of new variants and from some, new models. September sales, with the onset of the Ganpati festival, should provide a clue as to how consumer moods will prevail. Maruti sales down 35 percent
It's said that when Maruti Suzuki sneezes, the industry catches a cold. So it was not surprising that the carmaker, badly hit by the month-long shutdown from July 21-August 20 at its Manesar plant due to labour strife, sold a total of 50,129 units in August 2012, down 35 percent on the 77,086 units sold in August 2011. Exports too were down 75 percent: 4,025 cars in August 2012 compared to 14,356 units in August 2011.
The lockout hugely impacted the supply of the Swift, Dzire, SX4 and A-star. The company sold 3,085 units of the popular Dzire saloon, down 61 percent on August 2011, while sales of its compact cars, including the Swift, Ritz and Estilo, fell 62 percent to 6,059 units. At present, the Dzire and Swift have longl waiting periods, ranging from 4 to 9 months, depending on the variant.
The Alto, Maruti's top-seller, sold 10,488 units as against a monthly average of 17,000 units. After the Alto, only the Wagon R added a semblance of respectability to Maruti’s monthly tally with sales of 10,078 units. With an eye on the festive season, the company has launched the Wagon R Pro with additional features to boost the tally but sales have not quite reflected that. The Wagon R sold on average 13,000 units each month in 2011; that has now come down to 11,000 over the last year.
Hyundai Motor India (HMIL) reported an eight percent decline in total sales at 46,886 units in August 2012 (August 2011: 51,012 units). In the domestic market, it recorded sales of 28,257 units (August 2011: 26,677 units), up 5.9 percent. In the A2 segment (Eon, Santro, i10 and i20), the company sold 40,049 units while sales in the A3 segment (Accent and Verna) stood at 6,145 units. The new Elantra, launched in mid-August, sold 608 units. HMIL also sold 65 Santa Fe SUVs while its luxury saloon, the Sonata, sold 19 units.
Tata Motors’ sales of passenger vehicles comprised 22,311 units (August 2011: 16,829 units), higher by 33 percent. The Nano sold 6,507 units (August 2011: 1,202 units), higher by 441 percent as a result of a smaller base. The Indica and Vista range, thanks to its diesel line-up, sold 7,591 units (August 2011: 7,206 units), higher by 5 percent. The Indigo and Manza recorded sales of 3,629 units (August 2011: 5,100 units), down 29 percent.
Mahindra & Mahindra reported sales of 42,826 units last month (August 2011: 35,756 units), up by 20 percent. The passenger vehicles segment (which includes UVs and Verito) recorded 39 percent growth with sales of 21,831 units in August 2012 as against 15,664 units a year ago. Pravin Shah, chief executive, automotive division, M&M, said: “Considering the challenging external environment, we are happy to have achieved 22 percent growth. The new-look Verito has evoked a positive response, having crossed the 2,000 sales mark in August 2012.”
Honda Siel Cars India (now renamed Honda Cars India) sold 5,470 cars in August 2012 as against 6,407 units in the year-earlier month. Sales included 2,335 Brios, 465 Jazz cars and 2,538 Citys. It has been a year since Honda launched a refreshed Jazz at a lower price. This has led to around 8,000 unit sales over the last 12 months, double that in the year-earlier period, and this despite the hit that sales took when the company’s Thailand plant was inundated by floods last October and impacted supply chains.
Meanwhile, Toyota Kirloskar Motor sold 13,995 units of all its models (August 2011: 11,679 units). Its August 2012 tally included 6,439 Innovas, 1,289 Fortuners and 60 Camrys. The Etios sold 3,721 units while the Liva sold 1,977 units, its lowest so far since its launch just over a year ago.
General Motors India’s sales in August declined 17 percent to 7,510 units (August 2011: 9,050 units). The company sold 530 units of the Spark, 4,226 Beats, 139 units of the entry level Aveo saloon and 337 units of the Cruze. It also sold 2,217 Taveras during the month. The company is now preparing to launch the Chevrolet Sail in October, which will mark the entry of the first China-designed saloon in the Indian market.
Nissan Motor India, which is gearing up for the launch of the Evalia MPV, saw its August sales rise 185 percent over August 2011 sales. The Micra sold 1,187 units while the Sunny saloon sold 2,757 units. Nissan’s cumulative sales were 3,953 units in August 2012.
Volkswagen India, whose sales of the Polo and Vento have plateaued out in recent months, sold 2,431 and 1,556 units of both cars respectively. The Skoda Rapid sold 1,128 units in August 2012.
And finally, the new kid on the block, Renault India’s Duster sold 3,184 units. The Duster has generated a significant buyer response with an estimated 10,000 bookings and promises to deliver the numbers for Renault in India. Among the luxury carmakers, Audi India sold 726 units in August, up 42 percent over the 510 units sold in August last year. The German manufacturer sold 5,511 units in the last calendar year. Clearly, this year it is blazing a new trail with with 5,406 units sold in January-August 2012.
Two-wheeler sales slow down . . . fast
August 2012 was a month market leader Hero MotoCorp would like to forget. The company sold 443,801 units, 12 percent less than the 503,654 units it sold in August 2011. “The despatch numbers of August reflect market sentiments. The two-wheeler industry in India has been facing a challenging time due to the overall macro-economic situation which has adversely affected retail sales, both in the urban and the rural markets,” said Anil Dua, senior vice-president (marketing and sales).
The company's cumulative sales have grown 1.8 percent to 25,70,310 units during April-August 2012 as against 25,24,267 units in the year ago period. Meanwhile, Hero MotoCorp recorded its highest-ever scooter sales for any month by selling over 45,000 scooters in August.
Bajaj Auto’s sales fell 10 percent to 304,352 units (August 2011: 338,054 units). The company sold 7,200 Pulsar NS motorcycles and 25,000 Discover 125 STs.
Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India, which has been on a high for sometime now, reported 38.65 percent growth, clocking sales of 222,768 units in August 2012 (August 2011: 160,666 units). While motorcycle sales jumped by 69.44 percent to 104,316 units (61,562 units in August 2011), scooter sales saw a 19.52 percent increase to 118,452 units (99,104 units in August 2011). TVS Motor Company posted sales of 154,647 units in August 2012 (194,898 units in August 2011). Total two-wheeler sales were 150,740 units (August 2011: 190,184 units). Domestic sales were 135,513 units (August 2011:163,705 units). While it sold 53,673 motorcycles ((August 2011: 77,726 bikes), scooters registered sales of 38,193 units (August 2011:52,253 scooters).
Suzuki Motorcycle India recorded a 36 percent increase with sales of 36,524 units in August 2012 (August 2011: 26,900 units). Mahindra 2 Wheelers’ cumulative scooter sales from April to August 2012 stood at 50,567 units. Sales in August 2012 were 10,028 units. For its scooter range, the company’s R&D centre has developed a new Z-series engine, with advanced DCDI technology that is claimed to have the power of a 125cc engine while offering better on-road mileage. The Z-Series engine has been incorporated in the company's Rodeo RZ and the Duro DZ scooters. All said and done, for the bulk of automakers in India, the August numbers were not good news. All OEMs are looking optimistically at the oncoming festive season to drive sales.
BRIAN DE SOUZA
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