Amid slowdown, carmakers' bet on new launches pays off to an extent

Tata Harrier | Photo credit: Kamlesh Pednekar
Car manufacturers introduced 14 new models, while pulling out 10 old ones from the Indian market in the first four months of this fiscal (FY20). This is in line with carmakers' traditional strategy to boost sales in times of slowdown. 

The stategy to attract buyers through new launches seems to be working as market leaders saw good traction for the new cars, including the electric ones.
According to data released by SIAM, micro and compact segment witnessed highest activity in the period.

Market leader Maruti Suzuki pulled out old Wagon R, which clocked sales of 58,185 units during April-July 2018, and replaced it with the new Wagon R. The latest model registered sales of 51,157 units in the first four months of FY20. In the same period, Maruti also stopped sales of Gypsy. It has been reported that the company may look at bringing back the model as a new mini-SUV.

Korean automajor and India's second largest passenger carmaker Hyundai discontinued Eon in the last quarter of 2019 and hence sales of the model was nil during the first four months of FY20 as against 17,288 units in the same period last year.

The company sold 21,258 units of Santro during the first four month of FY20 and its new compact SUV Venue managed to clock sales of 25,397 units. Hyundai launched India's first complete electric car Kona and managed to sell 42 units. All the three products were not available during the same period last year.

While Tata Motors discontinued Nano and Sumo, it launched Harrier's diesel version and sold 5,810 units of it in the four months.

Other latest models that clocked good sales numbers includeed Mahindra XUV 300 (18546 units), Mahindra Marazzo (5235 units), Toyota's Glanza (6225 units), Honda Civic (1168 units), MG Hector (1508 units) and Honda CRV Diesel (102 units).

Industry representatives said new products had received a good response and this had provided a breather to companies battling the slowdown. The firms have lined up around 25-30 launches for the festive season. 

After launching new multipurpose vehicle XL6 on Wednesday, R C Bhargava, chairman, Maruti Suzuki said, "At this stage, everybody is hoping that this festive season will be better than last year and at this stage, one can only hope. The new launches will not be able to turn the market around but will be able to make some changes . How the festive season turns out will also depend on some measures taken by the centre and state governments."

Hyundai Motor India MD & CEO SS Kim, on the sidelines of GRAND i10 Nios launch on Tuesday, said that while new products could help increase sales, sustaining the momentum would require help from the government.

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