Hyundai is India’s No. 1 car exporter in FY2021 for second straight year

by Ajit Dalvi 12 Apr 2021


Hyundai Motor India has retained its title as India’s No. 1 passenger vehicle exporter for the second year in a row. With total shipments of 104,342 units in the fiscal, the Korean carmaker steamed ahead of Maruti Suzuki India, which exported 94,938 units. The difference of 9,404 units means that Hyundai stays on top of the PV export game.

Hyundai Motor India, which wrested the No. 1 made-in-India passenger vehicle (PV) exporter title from Ford India in FY2020, has the Verna and new Creta as its export demand drivers.

Maruti makes a strong bid
Maruti Suzuki India was in the game right through the year, and the export sales difference between the two was just 8,791 units till end-February. March 2021 saw strong numbers from both OEMs – Hyundai with 12,021 units and Maruti with 11,408 units – but it also meant the difference couldn’t be bridged. However, expect Maruti to notch strong numbers in FY2022.

On February 27, the carmaker announced that it has surpassed the two-million-vehicle-exports milestone when a batch of cars comprising the S-Presso, Swift and Vitara Brezza left for South Africa from Mundra Port in Gujarat.

Giving new impetus to the company’s exports is the made-in-India Suzuki Jimny. The first shipment of 184 Jimnys left Mundra port in end-January, headed for Latin American countries such as Columbia and Peru. The three-door Suzuki Jimny is to be exported to Latin America, Middle East and African markets from India.

Ford India sees steep export sales decline
In a Covid-impacted year, when most countries saw lockdowns in the first half of FY2021, demand for vehicles was low. This also meant that demand for Made-in-India cars slowed down. While both Hyundai and Maruti saw their year-on-year sales decline by 38% (FY2021: 104,342 / FY2020: 169,861) and 5.34% (FY2021: 94,938 / FY2020: 100,294) respectively.

Ford India is the one which has really felt the heat. The export leader in FY2019 is now in third place, with total exports of 46,064 units, 65% down year on year (FY2020: 131,476). Clearly, a marked climbdown for the American carmaker. If there is a glimmer of hope for the immediate future, then it is that with Ford shutting down its Brazil operations , it is likely some of the demand for the EcoSport from South America could be re-routed to Ford India. It may be noted that the EcoSport remains the most exported car from India.

At No. 4, and just 5,624 units behind Ford India is Kia Motors India with 40,440 units, which constitutes handsome 88% year-on-year export growth (FY2020: 21,461). Expect the Hyundai sibling, for whom made-in-India exports are an avowed mission, to maintain its export momentum in the months and years to come.

Nissan Motor India with 32,390 units is in fifth place, down 59% YpY, followed by Volkswagen India, with 31,089 units, down 44% YoY and GM India with 28,619 units, down 47% (FY2020: 54,863). This will be the last fiscal in which GM features, considering it has shut down its Talegaon plant.

Growth outlook
With FY2021 being a year full of challenges, the likes of which have never been seen before, not surprisingly, total passenger vehicle exports at 404,400 units were down 39% YoY.

Even as the automobile industry battles the second wave of Covid-driven lockdowns, FY2022 should see a renewed effort from OEMs to rev up their export numbers. Expect the Korea duo of Hyundai and Kia to accelerate their game. While Hyundai will introduce the recently launched Alcazar six- and seven-seater SUV to the export market, Kia will be looking to enhance overseas demand for the Sonet for which its Anantapur plant is the sole global production base. Skoda Auto Vollkswagen India will also look to export the Kushaq and Taigun SUVs, while catering to the domestic market and Renault India is already getting a good export feeling from the Triber and the Kiger SUVs.

The export mantra per se remains a winner: not only is it a high-margin revenue earner but it keeps the manufacturing plant buzzing even in difficult times in the domestic market.