Like the country's GDP growth, which has slowed down, Maruti Suzuki India, the bellwether of the Indian passenger vehicle market, continues to feel the pressure of slowlng sales. The reduced offtake from its showrooms in the festive month of November which had the Diwali week, hint at an overall slowdown across industry.
The No 1 carmaker by sales volumes in India registered cumulative sales of 143,890 units, recording a de-growth of 0.3 percent against the 144,297 units sold in the domestic market in November 2017.
While the entry-level Alto and Wagon R are substantially down 21.6 percent with sales of 29,954 units (November 2017: 38,204), the quintet of the Swift, Celerio, Ignis, Baleno and Dzire saved the blushes the company with sales of 72,533 units, albeit posting marginal growth of 10.8 percent (November 2017: 65,447).
Both the new Swift and the Baleno recently notched milestones of their own. On November 27, the Swift crossed the two million sales landmark in the domestic market, 13 years since the car’s launch in May 2005. Two days later, on November 29, Maruti Suzuki announced that the Baleno had zipped past the 500,000 sales milestone in India in 38 months since launch.
High fuel prices and increased insurance premiums due to five-year compulsory bundling can clearly be seen as the reasons impacting the industry hard, which has only been able to observe low growth in both October and November. According to all-India dealer body FADA, as on-ground retail was low as well, the well-stocked dealer yards are also the reason for the low wholesale in November, which is certainly a matter of concern for the industry.
Sales of the premium Ciaz sedan are down 4.3 percent, with sales of 3,838 units (November 2017: 4,009) with the UVs – S-Cross, Vitara Brezza, Gypsy and Ertiga – recording a miniscule 1.9 percent growth by selling 23,512 units in the month (November 2017: 23,07). Maruti launched the second-generation Ertiga on November 21.
The duo of Omni and Eeco vans went home to 14,053 buyers, registering an uptick of 3.6 percent (November 2017: 13,565).
With the largest carmaker posting flat growth, expect the overall PV industry to remain rather low as well. The negative sentiment caused by all the external factors might need some time for recovery, and with the calendar year almost coming to a close, it would only be the new year, with a flurry of new models, which could bring a fresh start for India Auto Inc.
Also read: FADA voices concern about industry de-growth in festive season
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