Auto sales take fast lane in Dec; carmakers see double-digit rise in sales

India’s largest carmaker, Maruti Suzuki India, reported a robust 17.8 per cent year-on-year growth in wholesale for December to 146,480 units.
Indian automakers replenished stocks before the new year, helping wholesale auto sales witness healthy growth. 

Inventory was lower than usual for passenger vehicles and tractors, leaving headroom for higher inventory filling in the coming months, industry executives said. They said spillover demand from the festive season and inventory refilling would drive demand for passenger vehicles and tractors.

India’s largest carmaker, Maruti Suzuki India, reported a robust 17.8 per cent year-on-year growth in wholesale for December to 146,480 units. This was aided by a sustained demand recovery for entry-level cars, hatchbacks, and utility vehicles after the festive season. The automaker also replenished inventory at dealerships after improved sales during the Diwali festival in November.

The country’s largest passenger vehicle manufacturer sold 124,375 units in the year-ago period.

Hyundai Motor India recorded the highest-ever domestic December sales at 47,400 units, a 24.89 per cent growth year-on-year, the company said in a statement. Exports rose 58.84 per cent at 19,350 units, making up a cumulative sales growth of 33.14 per cent. The carmaker also achieved the highest-ever single month production at 71,178 units in December. With domestic sales of 4,23,642 units in 2020, Hyundai managed to increase market share for the second year in a row, Hyundai Motor India Managing Director S S Kim said. 

“We are proceeding with cautious optimism and positively anticipate green shoots of recovery in 2021,” Kim said.

Tata Motors on Friday reported a 21 per cent increase in total vehicle sales in the domestic market to 53,430 units in December. 

The company sold 44,254 units in the domestic market in the same month last year, Tata Motors said in a regulatory filing. Domestic passenger vehicle (PV) sales stood at 23,545 units last month as against 12,785 units in December 2019, up 84 per cent.

“The passenger vehicle industry continued a strong growth in Q3 FY21, owing to pent up demand, strong festive season, and shift towards personal mobility,” Shailesh Chandra, president, passenger vehicles business unit at Tata Motors, said.

The company’s passenger vehicle business has been witnessing a strong response to its “New Forever” range, he said. Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) reported a 10.3 per cent decline in total sales at 35,187 units in December. It sold 39,230 units in December 2019, M&M said. In the domestic market, passenger vehicle sales were up 3 per cent to 16,182 units last month, compared to 15,691 units in December 2019. 

“Our sales have been affected due to the continuing supply-chain challenges, more specifically the supply shortage of micro-processors (semiconductors) used in electronic control units," Veejay Nakra, chief executive officer, automotive division, M&M, said.

Analysts said the growth momentum that started during the festival season is likely to sustain in the new year. “Inventory is lower than normal for passenger vehicle and tractors, leaving headroom for higher wholesales. We expect two-wheeler, passenger vehicle, tractor dispatches are likely to improve by eight to 34 per cent year-on-year,” said Dolat Capital analysts.

Eicher Motor sales saw sales of Royal Enfield motorcycles rise 37 per cent, led by an increase in deliveries of models with engine capacity up to 350 cc. Total sales stood at 68,995 units compared with 50,416 units in December last year. Exports rose 82 per cent to 3,503 units. Sales of models with engine capacity up to 350 cc rose 33 per cet to 63,580 units.

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