Maruti Suzuki is called the bellwether of the Indian passenger vehicle (PV) industry not without reason. The industry’s fortunes are intrinsically linked to the company which accounts for one out of every two cars sold in India. As they say, when Maruti sneezes, the PV industry catches a cold. And that’s so true of the current market situation – both domestic and exports. At present the domestic PV industry is down and the export PV numbers are up – and Maruti has a key role in both.
India Auto Inc is witnessing multiple challenges – the ongoing semiconductor shortage, rising commodity prices, high fuel prices and lacklustre consumer demand. November 2021 numbers, released by SIAM on December 11, indicate that PV wholesales at 215,626 units are down 19% year on year. Of this, Maruti accounted for 109,726 units (down 19% YoY: November 2020: 135,755) or 51% of total domestic sales.
Maruti set to wrest export leader title from Hyundai
Shift focus to the export market and things look much brighter. At 44,265 units, November 2021 shipments were up 15% YoY (November 2020: 44,265) of which Maruti contributed 21,198 units or 48%. Look at the cumulative April-November 2021 data and the Make-in-India export story looks even more promising.
Total export sales of 36,91,583 units across PVs, two and three-wheelers are a strong 62% YoY growth, each with double-digit gains. PVs at 368,605 units are up 58% YoY, with Maruti Suzuki accounting for nearly 40% of total cars shipped overseas (145,906 units). Of this, 42,284 units were shipped in October-November 2021 alone and make up 29% of total exports.
Clearly, eight months into the fiscal year, Maruti Suzuki has firmed up its grip on the export market and is set to dethrone export market leader Hyundai Motor India, which has been on top for the past two fiscals. With despatches of 145,906 units, Maruti Suzuki has registered 192% YoY growth. In the process, as per Autocar Professional’s data analytics, the carmaker has already recorded its best annual exports (see data table below).
Ten-year export data reveals that Maruti's previous best export year for FY2018 with 123,903 units. The carmaker's strong performance in the current fiscal leaves that score far behind. With four months of the fiscal year still left to go, and if it maintains the same monthly average of 18,000-odd units, the company could be driving towards the 220,000 units mark for FY2022
What’s remarkable about this performance is that despite witnessing tough times in the domestic market, mainly due to shortage of electronic components and chips, the carmaker has focused on delivering overseas shipments, catering to demand. While specific model-wise despatch details for April-November 2021 are not available, expect the Baleno, S-Presso, Dzire, Swift, Vitara Brezza and Jimny to be the top six models in demand overseas.
In February 2021, Maruti Suzuki’s cumulative exports crossed the 2-million mark, 34 years after it began shipping its made-in-India cars overseas with its first consignment of 500 cars to Hungary in September 1987. Currently, the company exports around 14 models and nearly 150 variants to over 100 countries. On January 20, 2021, it began production and export of Suzuki’s compact off-roader Jimny from India. With India as a production base for the Jimny, Suzuki aims to leverage Maruti Suzuki’s global production operations.
Will Hyundai catch up with Maruti exports?
FY2021 export market leader Hyundai Motor India, at this stage, is considerably behind Maruti. While it has 83,438 export units (up 53%), it looks difficult for Hyundai to catch up with Maruti Suzuki which has set a strong pace this year. The gap between the two OEMs is 62,468 units. Or will Hyundai surprise us all with a sterling performance between December and March 2022?