“The segments in which we operate are not growing at a pace at which we would like them to. Therefore, we have been focussing on exports,” said a company spokesman.
Ford had said in 2015 it planned to triple exports from India over the next five years. The company exports the Figo hatchback and the Figo Aspire sedan apart from the Ford EcoSport sports utility vehicle.
General Motors’ exports from India grew 1621.54 per cent to 37,082 cars during 2015-16, beating its domestic sales of 32,540 cars that declined by 37.23 per cent.
General Motors, on its part, is pursuing an aggressive exports strategy. A GM India spokesperson said, “GM India is currently undergoing a business transformation. We are consolidating our manufacturing at our Talegaon plant to localise, industrialise and optimise our footprint. Through our investment, we intend to increase our domestic market share. As well as pursuing domestic growth, over the next 5-10 years we plan to export up to 30 per cent of annual production.”
Volkswagen and Nissan, too, saw exports surpassing domestic sales. Volkswagen's exports grew 16.92 per cent to 75,989 cars while Nissan's exports fell 7.25 per cent to 111,612 cars. Nissan’s domestic sales dipped 17 per cent to 39,389 cars and Volkswagen's domestic sales declined 8.72 per cent to 41,096 cars.
India’s passenger vehicle exports increased 5.24 per cent during 2015-16, according to the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers, and local sales grew 7.24 per cent. These include cars, vans and utility vehicles. Bajaj Auto and TVS Motor saw their three-wheeler exports beating domestic sales in 2015-16. While Bajaj Auto's three-wheeler exports dipped 1.68 per cent to 280,000, its domestic sales grew 8.8 per cent to 254,995. TVS Motor clocked a 5.39 per cent rise in exports to 95,285 as domestic sales dipped 11.47 per cent to 15,536.
Harley-Davidson exported 5,241 motorcycles, up 63.78 per cent, more than its domestic sales of 4,708, up 1.44 per cent.
The focus on exports is a strategy for most automobile manufacturers, according to Abdul Majeed, industry analyst and partner, PwC India.
“It is a de-risking model when domestic demand dwindles, Majeed pointed out.