Auto sales in top gear

Sales of passenger vehicles — cars, vans and utility vehicles — surged over 12 per cent in April, thanks to the popularity of newly-launched models and a low base effect. The industry is estimated to have sold 237,149 units in April this year (based on data available for the top 10 players).

Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai Motor and M&M reported double-digit growth in domestic sales to dealers. Tata Motors reported a growth of eight per cent after months of decline, thanks to the newly-launched Tiago. On the other hand, Honda and Toyota continue to see double-digit decline in sales.

The industry sales of 217,949 units in April 2015 were much lower than the average monthly sales of 232,473 units in FY16. While being higher compared with the volumes in April 2015, data shows a sequential decline for many players. Maruti Suzuki reported a 16 per cent jump in domestic sales for April. The company, which enjoys a 47 per cent share in domestic passenger vehicle market, sold 117,045 units, compared with 100,709 units in April 2015.

The growth was helped by sales of Brezza, S Cross and Baleno, all of which are new products. On a sequential basis, however, Maruti’s sales declined from 118,895 units in March 2016. “We are happy to begin this fiscal on a positive note. Driving this robust growth for Maruti Suzuki are the new premium offerings Ciaz, Baleno, Vitara Brezza and S Cross. Some of these products are on wait list,” said R S Kalsi, executive director (marketing and sales) at Maruti. At BSE, the company’s stock closed at Rs 3,829.55, up 0.91 per cent on a day when Sensex declined 0.66 per cent.

Hyundai, the second-largest player in the sector, closed April just short of a 10 per cent growth.

The company’s domestic sales grew 9.7 per cent to 42,351 units. Rakesh Srivastava, senior vice-president (sales and marketing) at Hyundai said, “In an industry seeing challenges on rural sales and diesel vehicle sales, Hyundai continued its growth momentum over last year with strong performance of the Creta, Elite i20 and Grand.”

Hyundai has seen a sequential increase of 2.8 per cent in April. Utility vehicle major M&M clocked a 16 per cent growth in domestic sales, helped by new products like KUV100 and NuvoSport.  The April volume of 22,655 units, however, is lower than the 26,885 units sold in March. “We hope to maintain growth momentum with our wide range of product portfolio as well as the new launches,” said Pravin Shah, president and chief executive (automotive) at M&M. The company’s stock closed at Rs 1,335.75, up 0.30 per cent at BSE.

This year the industry is expected to improve the 7 per cent growth rate it registered in FY16, helped by higher demand from sub-urban and rural segment, due to prediction of above-normal rainfall after two consecutive deficit years.

In spite of overall growth, the industry is facing a number of challenges. Japanese carmaker Toyota continues to reel under the impact of Supreme Court ban on diesel vehicles with engine capacity of than 2,000cc or more in the National Capital Region. Toyota’s April sales were down 30 per cent. Honda closed April with a steep decline of 17 per cent. Renault continued its strong performance and posted 210 per cent growth, helped by its affordable hatchback Kwid. Ford has also seen a 32 per cent increase in sales. Volkswagen and Nissan are learnt to have seen a drop in sales though these companies have not announced the April data.

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