India Market Sales Analysis – February 2012

Diesel car demand drives February sales

Autocar Pro News DeskBy Autocar Pro News Desk calendar 16 May 2012 Views icon2961 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
India Market Sales Analysis – February 2012
With overall passenger car sales of 13 percent, February 2012 brought some respite for carmakers who saw a decline of 1.2 percent in the first 10 months of 2011-12. The sharp increase in sales clearly has been driven by customers advancing their purchase of diesel-engined cars, amid fears that the upcoming Budget 2012 will have some unpleasant news in the form of an excise duty rollback and an additional levy on diesel vehicles.

Maruti, which has resumed regular production at its plants along with improved diesel engine availability following the recent pact with Fiat for supply of the 1.3-litre Multijet from Fiat Powertrain India, made the most of the demand for diesel. The carmaker sold a total of 118, 949 units in February 2012, an increase of 6.5 percent over the 111,645 units sold in February 2011. This includes 11,296 export units, up 11.8 percent over February 2012. Model-wise, Maruti sold 32,909 Altos, followed by 20,739 units of the Swift which has been on a roll and has crossed the 20,000 mark. The much-in-demand Swift and Dzire duo helped the company post good sales with the under-four-metre model notching 15,068 units. While the Dzire's waiting period has dropped significantly to about three months, that for the Swift hatch remains high at seven months.

As far as other models go, the SX4 sold 2,033 units while the Kizashi, now a year old, sold 14 units. The Omni and Eeco sold a combined 13,305 units in the month, a fall of 1.7 percent over February 2011 sales numbers.

Hyundai Motor India too had a good month, recording its highest-ever domestic sales riding on the performance of the Eon launched last September. Total sales increased by 12.8 percent over February 2011. Domestic sales totaled 36,805 units (32,629 units in February 2011) including 10,324 units of the i10 and 10,430 units for the Eon, which has broken the 10,000-mark barrier. Pitted against the Alto, the Eon has expanded the A-segment considerably but has not impacted, thus far, the Alto’s commanding position. The company also sold 6,584 units of the Accent and Verna, and 147 units of the Santa Fe SUV.

Tata Motors’ passenger vehicles business reported a total sale and distribution offtake of 36,536 units (34,832 Tata + 1,704 Fiat) in the domestic market in February 2012, higher by xxx percent compared to 33,751 units (31,909 Tata + 1,842 Fiat) in February 2011. Sales of Tata-branded cars in February 2012 at 34,832 units were nine percent more than the 31,909 units sold in February last year. Sales of the Nano were 9,217 units, up 12 percent compared to 8,262 sold in February 2011; the car will once again figure in the month’s Top 10. The Nano’s February tally is its highest since April 2011 when over 10,000 Nanos were driven out of dealerships. The Indica and Vista combined sales were 10,424 units, up four percent over 10,044 units sold in February last year. The Indigo and Manza range recorded sales of 8,595 units, down four percent over the 8,966 units sold in February last year.

Toyota’s sales in February surged 79 percent to 16,659 units, helped by strong demand for its Etios saloon and Liva hatchback. The Etios saloon sold 4,590 units, up 65 percent, while the Liva sold 3,437 units. The Innova and refreshed Fortuner sold 6,271 units and 1,346 units, respectively, both notching a 39 percent improvement in sales. Toyota also sold 996 units of the Corolla Altis. SUV maker Mahindra & Mahindra announced a 27 percent increase in its sales numbers, which stood at 40,461 units during February 2012, as against 31,967 units in February 2011. Its passenger vehicle segment (which includes UVs and Verito saloon) grew 33 percent, having sold 20,573 units as against 15,439 units in the year-earlier month. M&M’s Bolero sold 8,843 units, continuing a solid and consistent performance in this fiscal. The XUV500 sold 2,729 units in the month even as M&M considers investing Rs 100 crore to ramp up production. The Bolero, meanwhile, appears on target to breach the 100,000 mark in the current financial year.

Nissan Motor India reported its highest-ever monthly sales with February sales numbers up 158 percent year-on-year. The company sold 5,371 units as against 2,081 units a year ago. The bestseller was the Sunny – which is targeted at the Toyota Etios, Tata Indigo and Volkswagen Vento – with 3,130 units, its second consecutive month of selling over 3,000 units. The Micra sold 2,198 units compared to 2,030 units a year ago. Managing director Kiminobu Tokuyama said: “It is particularly satisfying to see the Sunny and Micra – both models built in India, for India – are proving to be among the most preferred cars in their respective segments.” Like all other carmakers, Nissan has increased prices of both the Sunny and the Micra.

Perhaps the best news of all was the return of normalcy at Honda Siel Cars India's (HSCI) plant after a three-month hiatus caused by the flooding of its Thailand facility from which critical parts are imported. HSCI recorded 83 percent growth in February 2012, selling 8,856 units as against 4,843 units in February 2011. In January, Honda sold 1,777 units which indicates the impact of the effect of the Thailand facility closure. JnaneswarSen, senior vice-president, sales & marketing, said: “With normal production resuming at our Greater Noida plant from mid-January, we are working towards normalising supplies and catering to the growing demand of our cars. The Brio and New City have received an overwhelming response.” Model-wise, Honda sold 2,046 units of the Brio, 6,052 units of the new City and 356 units of the Jazz. Its priority is to clear all backlogs, starting with the Brio. The company also sold 100 CR-Vs, 99 Accords and 208 Civics.

General Motors India (GMI) posted a 4.32 percent decline in sales at 8,901 units in February. The mainstay was the Chevrolet Beat which sold 4,684 units but clearly the company does need a volume-warrior to boost its monthly tally. GMI sold 1,328 Sparks, 90 Aveos, 273 Optras and 537 units of the Cruze. It also sold 1,964 units of the Tavera MUV and 25 units of the Captiva SUV. Meanwhile, Volkswagen India reported a 7.74 percent decline in its India sales at 6,529 units for February 2012. The company had sold 7,077 units in the year-earlier month. According to reports, its Polo hatch and Vento saloon continue to be the backbone for the brand, with a total of over 6,000 units sold in February.

Skoda Auto India, which launched its Rapid saloon in December, sold 2,204 units in February. A Dow Jones newswire reports says Skoda will launch a new version of its Superb this month. The company has sold 2,731 units of this luxury saloon with 181 units sold in February alone.

Audi sold 600 units as against 450 units in the year-earlier month, up 33 percent. The company plans to launch its TT model later this month.

Hero MotoCorp, HMSI in the news

Like their brethren in the automobile world, two-wheeler companies also posted robust sales. Hero MotoCorp reported a 10.89 percent rise in its February sales at 5,23,465 units as compared to 4,72,055 units in February 2011. Its senior VP (marketing and sales) Anil Dua said, “We have been consistently clocking over 500,000 units in sales, and our performance in January and February 2012 has maintained that trend in both despatch and retail sales.”

Hero MotoCorp recently signed an R&D tie-up with Erik Buell Racing of the US to develop future bikes. According to PawanMunjal, MD and CEO, “This alliance is in keeping with my objective of quickly scaling up our own in-house R&D capabilities to a global two-wheeler technology power-house by leveraging a network of strategic international alliances. Erik and his team have been working closely with our engineers and designers to develop our next-generation range of products with cutting-edge technology and first-of-its-kind features.”

Arch rival Bajaj Auto sold 301,961 motorcycles, up five percent over 286,657 units sold in February last year. For the 11-month period, Bajaj has sold 35,33, 557 units – up 14 percent over the 31,12,651 units sold in the last-year earlier period. The company’s target for the current financial year is four million two-wheelers.

Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India recorded total sales of 206,043 units comprising 83,061 bikes and 122,982 scooters. HMSI passed the 200,000 mark for the first time ever in India. In February, bike sales rose 41 percent and those of scooters rose 54 percent.

The company has launched a new tri-colour option – ‘Pearl Heron Blue’ – for the CBR 250R, its high-end bike launched in March 2011. The tri-colour CBR250R is being offered across all variants and will be available from March 2012, retailing for Rs 1.45 lakh and Rs 1.70 lakh (C-ABS).

HMSI has also kicked off its second line at its Tapukara facility in Rajasthan which has an annual production capacity of 1.2 million units; the second line is a flexible one that can manufacture both motorcycles and scooters. HMSI’s target for the current fiscal is 21.05 lakh units and its tally so far is 18,86,741 units.

TVS Motor Co reported a 3.02 percent decline in its total vehicle sales in February at 172,061 units versus 177,412 units in February 2011. Two-wheeler sales fell 2.43 percent last month to 168,996 units from 173,200 units in the year-ago period. While scooter sales dipped by 9.03 percent to 36,693 units in February from 40,335 units in February 2011, motorcycle sales fell by 11.81 percent to 63,019 units from 71,462 units in the year-ago period. TVS' domestic two-wheeler sales registered a marginal growth to 152,796 units as against 1,51,526 units in February 2011.

India Yamaha Motor recorded a growth of 23 percent in its overall sales as compared to February 2011. In the domestic market, its sales tally was 27,050 units as against 23,384 units in the same month last year, registering 15.7 percent growth. Roy Kurian, the company’s national business head, said: “We are very pleased with the sales growth witnessed in the past month on account of our strong product portfolio and high customer confidence in us. Our models such as the YZF-R15, FZ series and SZ series have been very well accepted.”

Suzuki Motorcycle India recorded a 29.85 percent increase in sales during February at 37,336 units. It sold 28,754 units in February 2011. Vice-president (sales and marketing) Atul Gupta said, “We have received a good response for all our products."

BRIAN DE SOUZA
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