Even though India’s top two passenger vehicle (PV) makers Maruti Suzuki India (MSIL) and Hyundai Motor India (HMIL) registered a decline in sales during March 2019, they have managed to record positive, albeit low, growth for the full financial year 2018-2019 (FY19).
Both MSIL and HMIL recorded their highest domestic sales figures ever in FY19, at 17.53 lakh units and 5.45 lakh units respectively. But their growth was less than impressive standing at just 6.1 per cent and 1.7 per cent respectively. In the month of March, sales declined by 0.7 per cent for MSIL and 7.6 per cent for HMIL.
The auto industry continues to face several challenges that have choked sales like the rise in insurance costs, a liquidity crisis squeezing off credit from NBFCs, and volatile oil prices. These factors have muted market sentiments to such an extent that it is unlikely that sales will pick up in the next few months, say experts.
Apart from the two largest carmakers, however, other carmakers like Tata Motors and Toyota Kirloskar which had been registering a decline or flatish growth in recent months also ended FY19 with decent figures.
Tata Motor’s domestic PV sales fell 12 per cent in March to 17,810 units, while full-fiscal sales were up by 12 per cent to over 2.1 lakh units, thanks to recent launches like the Nexon, Harrier and Tiago.
Toyota Kirloskar Motor sold 12,818 units in March, up just 2 per cent, while for the full fiscal it recorded a sales growth of 7 per cent. “We are happy to have clocked a growth of 7% in domestic sales in FY19 as compared to FY18… However, consumer spending has weakened in the pre-election phase and the business sentiment has dampened temporarily,” noted N Raja, deputy managing director, Toyota Kirloskar.
Of the few exceptions to this trend were Mahindra & Mahindra and Honda Cars India. New launches, particularly the compact XUV3OO, helped Mahindra & Mahindra clock a growth of 4 per cent in March passenger vehicle sales to 27,646, while for the full year it managed to record a growth of 2 per cent to 2.54 lakh units.
Honda Cars, which has seen good demand for its compact sedan Amaze, sold 17,202 units in March 2019, a growth of 27 per cent. For FY19, its sales were up 8 per cent to over 1.83 lakh units.
Commercial vehicle sales too have followed the broad trend in FY19. For instance, while Tata Motors’ CV sales rose just 4 per cent in March to 50,917 units, for the full fiscal it recorded a jump of 17 per cent. Ashok Leyland, which reported a 5 per cent decline in its domestic sales at 20,521 units in March, registered a 17 per cent jump in FY19 to 185,065 units.
As for two-wheeler makers, March proved to be much worse than expected. Two of India’s largest manufacturers — Hero MotoCorp and Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India — saw sales decline by over 20 per cent and 40 per cent respectively during the month. As for the full year, Hero recorded a sales growth of just 3 per cent, while HMSI recorded a decline of 6.45 per cent.