A combination of new models, refreshed variants and an uptick in consumer sentiment are driving increased footfalls in automobile showrooms and resulting in higher sales.
Having ended FY2017 on a strong note with year-on-year growth of 9.23 percent and crossing the 3 million mark for the first time, the Indian passenger vehicle industry has begun the new fiscal on a robust note. From the sales numbers for April 2017 released by some OEMs, it’s clear that a combination of new models, refreshed variants and an uptick in consumer sentiment are driving increased footfalls in automobile showrooms and resulting in higher sales.
The forecast of a normal monsoon across the country by the Indian Meteorological Department and projection of 7.2 percent GDP growth by the International Monetary Fund are also
Maruti Suzuki India, the country’s largest carmaker, has taken off from where it left in FY2016-17 when it crossed the 1.5 million sales landmark for the first time ever.
In April 2017, the company has reported total domestic sales of 144,081 units, up 23 percent (April 2016: 117,045). Growth has returned to its entry level, bread-and-butter duo of the Alto and Wagon R, which sold 38,897 units, up 21.9 percent (April 2016: 31,906). Sales of the six compact cars comprising the Swift, Ritz, Celerio, Ignis, Baleno and Dzire posted robust 39 percent growth at 63,584 units (April 2016: 45,700). Maruti will officially launch the new, third-generation Dzire on May 18 in a bid to accelerate slowing sales of the compact sedan.
The Ciaz premium sedan, which is now sold only from the premium Nexa channel, went home to 7,024 buyers, up 23 percent (April 2016: 5,702). The two vans – Omni and Eeco – sold 13,938 units, down 28.6 percent (April 2016: 14,520). The sales decline in the vans is the only blemish for Maruti amongst its vehicle categories.
The company continues to post high sales in the UV segment, thanks to surging sales of the Vitara Brezza. Its total UV sales (Gypsy, Ertiga, S-Cross, Vitara Brezza) rose 28.6 percent YoY to 20,638 units (April 2016: 16,044).
And, Maruti’s Super Carry, its entry model into the LCV segment, sold a total of 411 units in April 2017.
On the export front though, Maruti has seen a sharp 29 percent decline. The company shipped a total of 6,273 vehicles in April 2017, compared to 9,524 units in April 2016.
Hyundai Motor India, the country’s second largest car manufacturer, sold 44,758 units in April, a year-on-year growth of 5.7 percent (April 2016: 42,351). Commenting on the April 2017 numbers, Rakesh Srivastava, director (Sales and Marketing), HMIL said, “Hyundai with a volume of 44,758 units continued its growth momentum on a strong base of last year driven by a tremendous response for the new Xcent and strong performance of the Grand i10, Elite i20 and Creta.”
Robust demand in the Indian market for SUVs is giving new momentum to automakers. Toyota Kirloskar Motor has reported strong growth of 52 percent in April 2017 – a total of 12,948 units (April 2016: 8,529). This growth, according to the company, is mainly attributed to the demand for the new Fortuner. In less than six months of its launch, the butch SUV has sold more than 12,200 units. The new Corolla Altis has also clicked with consumers and in just one month of its launch has clocked a growth of over 75 percent, thereby retaining its position as segment leader. Commenting on the monthly sales, N Raja, director and senior vice-president, Sales & Marketing, Toyota Kirloskar Motor, said, “We have been able to sustain robust growth in the month of April 2017. This growth has been propelled by the overwhelming response the new Fortuner has received. Ever since its launch in India in 2009, the Fortuner has been an undisputed segment leader. The launch of the new Fortuner has helped us up this ante as it has already sold more than 12,200 units in less than 6 months of its launch. Considering the segment in which the Fortuner is present, this is a great achievement for us.”
Mahindra & Mahindra sold a total of 19,325 vehicles in April 2017, down 15 percent (April 2016: 22,655). Commenting on the sales numbers for April 2017, Rajan Wadhera, president, Automotive Sector, M&M, said, “We are hopeful that the new financial year will bring in positive sentiment for the automotive industry with the key demand drivers in place. Factors such as the ongoing infrastructure development initiatives, outlook for a normal monsoon and the expectation of a stable policy environment will fuel growth in the coming days. Going forward, we are looking for a good growth momentum with our planned refreshes during FY2018.“
Honda Cars India has reported domestic sales of 14,480 units in April 2017, up 38.1 percent (April 2016: 10,486). The Japanese carmaker says it has received a good market response for the recently launched WR-V crossover and new City sedan. While the City has received over 25,000 bookings since its launch in mid-February, the WR-V has seen 12,000 bookings since its launch in mid-March.
In April 2017, the City was the best-selling Honda car with 5,948 units, followed by the WR-V (3,266), Jazz (2,061), Amaze (2,029), BR-V (701), Brio (438, CR-V (36) and Accord Hybrid (1).
According to Yoichiro Ueno, president and CEO, Honda Cars India, said: “Honda’s sales continue to grow positively and we registered our higher-ever April numbers backed by strong demand for the new City 2017 and WR-V. The new fiscal year has begun on a positive note and we hope to continue the growth momentum.”
Tata Motors continues to see a resurgence in demand for its passenger vehicles. The company sold a total of 12,827 units in April 2017, a growth of 23 percent (April 2016: 12,230) which it says is due to an “encouraging response for its recently launched lifestyle UV, the Hexa” and the Tigor. Meanwhile, the Tiago hatchback continues to see a good sales uptick.
Meanwhile, Ford India continued its growth momentum in April with domestic wholesales of 7,618 vehicles, up 16.64 percent (April 2016: 6,531). “Ford continues to outpace the industry with a consistent double-digit growth in domestic sales, thanks to our capable and dynamic product portfolio. Our promise to deliver an affordable, transparent ownership experience is bringing scores of new customers to the Ford family,” said Anurag Mehrotra, executive director, Marketing, Sales & Service at Ford India.
In April, in a bid to accelerate sales, the carmaker introduced Sports Editions of its Figo hatchback and Aspire compact sedan.
During the month, Ford India also started a new campaign to sensitise car buyers on the importance of safety, urging them to make it a top priority. The campaign, titled 'The Uncomfortable Question', finds its roots in the research that shows safety in car buying decisions play second fiddle to every other parameter – be it looks or mileage and even convenience features.
“The safety of our customers and their loved ones is a top priority for Ford. Hence our entire portfolio in India today comes equipped with advanced safety features such as ABS, EBD, side and curtain airbags as well as industry-first knee airbag to keep vehicle occupants safe,” Mehrotra added.
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