Maruti Suzuki sells 143,708 units in May, 65% jump in SUV-MPV sales helps buffer hatchback decline
Entry of new Fronx gives company a new charge; combined SUV-MPV sales of 46,243 units account for 32% of passenger vehicle sales and help reduce the impact of 30% decline in sales of the Alto and S-Presso.
India’s passenger vehicle market leader has announced wholesales of 143,708 units in May 2023, which marks a 15% year-on-year increase (May 2022: 124,474 units) and a 7.27% month-on-month increase (April 2023: 137,320 units). The first takeaway is that strong sales of its six-pack of SUVs have helped buffer the 30% YoY decline in sales of its two budget hatchbacks.
Combined sales of the Alto and S-Presso at 12,236 units are down a substantial 30% on year-ago sales (May 2022: 17,408 units) and also 13% down on April 2023’s 14,110 units. This is the sole sub-segment amongst the company’s 16 models to see a sales decline. Clearly, demand from rural India continues to be tepid, which is somewhat worrying for both Maruti Suzuki as well as India Auto Inc.
The seven-model pack of the Baleno, Celerio, Dzire, Ignis, Swift, Tour S, Wagon R together account for 71,419 units, up 5% (May 2022: 67,947 units) but down 4.69% on April 2023’s 74,935 units. While the model-wise sales splits are not available, expect the Baleno, India’s best-selling premium hatchback in FY2023 and the utilitarian Wagon R, the best-selling passenger vehicle last fiscal, to have sizeable contributions in this category. The practical and easy-to-live-with Wagon R, first launched 24 years ago, recently drove past 3 million sales. The third-gen avatar and the CNG variant are helping maintain sales momentum.
The premium Ciaz sedan clocked wholesales of 992 units, up 69% on a low year-ago base of 586 units. The Ciaz had sold 1,017 units in April 2023.
The Eeco van did well to sell 12,818 units, 22% better than the 10,482 units it had clocked in May 2022.
New Fronx gets 46,200 bookings, SUV-MPV share of PV sales rises to 32%
Maruti Suzuki India’s SUVs – the Brezza, Ertiga, Fronx, Grand Vitara, S-Cross and the XL6 – clocked 46,243 units, which constitutes strong 65% YoY growth. What’s more, the 26% month-on-month increase (April 2023: 36,754 units) of this six-pack reflects the growing demand for Maruti’s SUVs and the popular Ertiga MPV.
Of these six models, four – the new Fronx, Grand Vitara, S-Cross and the XL6 – belong to the premium Nexa brand and indicate the market shift to premium products in this vehicle category. With the carmaker set to launch the Jimny five-door SUV on June 7, demand for this sub-segment can only accelerate.
While SUVs led the charge and contributed 22 percent to Maruti Suzuki India’s overall sales in the month of May, its key UV models - the Brezza, Grand Vitara and Fronx – remain in high demand, with waiting periods averaging 16-18 weeks. While the Brezza currently commands an 18-19-week wait time for its over 55,000 pending orders, the bigger Grand Vitara is yet to be delivered to more than 33,000 customers.
However, according to MSIL, the recently-launched Fronx crossover has received an optimistic response, with over 46,200 bookings, and an estimated wait time of 16 weeks, depending upon variant and city. According to Shashank Srivastava, Senior Executive Officer, MSIL, “The soon-to-be-launched Jimny has also received over 30,000 bookings, and all these models combined, will enable us to lead the SUV segment market share by end-FY24.”
Speaking in a virtual press conference today, Srivastava said that MSIL’s sales in the rural market have registered faster growth compared to urban centres. “A continued spend on infrastructure is driving rural income, while the harvesting which was expected to be poorer, has been the other way around. The El-Nino effect has not really panned out as such, and that has kept the mood upbeat on the ground. Finally, the month of May was also that of marriages, particularly in the Western, Central and Northern parts of the country, and the wedding season does give a fillip to demand,” he pointed out.
Chip supplies to improve in Q2 FY2024
Maruti Suzuki remains the unrivalled market leader but with an estimated order backlog of around 375,000 passenger vehicles amid a hugely competitive marketplace, the company will have to put its shoulder to the production wheel.
Meanwhile, the company, which lost a fair share of production in FY2023, estimated at over 200,000 units, continues to be impacted by a shortage of semiconductors. In its statement today, the company said: “The shortage of electronic components had a minor impact on the production of vehicles.”
Despite seeing improvements in chip supplies, MSIL maintained that some of its key models – Ertiga, XL6, Grand Vitara, Brezza and Fronx – continue to remain impacted, and their production was hindered last month. “However, we are hopeful that the situation will improve in Q2,” concluded Srivastava.
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