New cars, to run down slump

Automobile manufacturers have scheduled a slew of new launches despite low sales in April and dismal outlook for the sector this fiscal.

Published: 03rd May 2019 10:12 AM  |   Last Updated: 03rd May 2019 10:12 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

With a slew of car launches lined up for the coming months, automobile manufacturers are attempting to reverse the dismal outlook for the vehicle market, whose sales were hammered down last month. Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai, Tata Motors, Toyota and Mahindra are among automobile majors who have scheduled launch of new cars, despite low sales recorded in the first month of this financial year.

Maruti, which takes the credit for one in every two passenger vehicles sold in the country, reported a whopping 19 per cent fall in domestic sales in April 2019. Similarly, the country’s second-largest carmaker, Hyundai Motor Company, reported 10.1 per cent decline in sales the same month. Toyota Kirloskar Motor, which sells the popular Utility Vehicles (UV) Innova and Fortuner in India, reported 22 per cent year-on-year decline in its domestic sales at 10,112 units.

According to N Raja, deputy managing director at Toyota Kirloskar Motor, consumer sentiments have currently dampened due to several factors including tight liquidity, high insurance and high costs. “The industry is currently experiencing a slowdown due to uncertainty caused by the ongoing general elections. This slow pace is expected to continue until the new government is formed,” he added. However, the Toyota executive was also hopeful of a jump in sales in the months after elections.

Rajan Wadhera, president (automotive sector), Mahindra & Mahindra, echoed the hope. “Supported by a normal monsoon, we are confident of seeing higher sales in FY20.” Mahindra & Mahindra on Thursday reported 8 per cent decrease in domestic sales at 41,603 units in April 2019. Sales of passenger vehicles (PV) skidded 9 per cent at 19,966 units, compared to 21,927 units in April 2018.

A number of industry analysts and carmakers observed that the industry has been facing numerous regulatory challenges such as an increase in insurance cost and upcoming safety norms that are making vehicles expensive, among others. The car launches are seen as one way of facing the challenges head-on, they pointed out.

To beat the slowdown, most carmakers are now rolling up their sleeves and getting down to the brass tacks by launching new vehicles. The first major launch in the PV segment will be Hyundai’s sub-compact SUV ‘Venue’. Slated for launch on May 21, Hyundai has already started pre-booking of Venue at a token amount of `21,000. Maruti Suzuki India has recently launched a newer version of its popular hatchback ‘Alto’ and has upgraded its Multi-Purpose Vehicle ‘Ertiga’ with a new diesel engine. Mahindra, whose latest model ‘XUV300’ is being received well in the market, will increase its presence in the compact SUV segment with the launch of ‘TUV300’ next month.

Tata Motors is also set to launch its premium hatchback ‘Altroz’ in India in mid-2019. This premium hatchback will challenge the likes of Maruti Suzuki’s ‘Baleno’, Hyundai’s ‘Elite i20’ and Honda’s ‘Jazz’.

Toyota too will be launching ‘Glanza’, the first product to come out of the Toyota-Suzuki agreement, sometime in the second half of 2019. New players MG Motors and Kia Motors have also lined up their SUVs for the coming months.

Among two-wheeler makers, Hero MotoCorp, which reported a decline of around 17 per cent in sales to 574,366 units in April 2019 against 694,022 units sold last year, has already launched three new premium bikes; it also spoke of launching more premium bikes and scooters. Suzuki Motorcycle, which registered 9.25 per cent growth in April domestic sales, will launch a new bike on May 20. 

NEW ON THE BLOCK

  • The first major launch in PV segment will be Hyundai’s sub-compact SUV ‘Venue’. Slated for launch on May 21, Hyundai has already started pre-booking of Venue at a token amount of Rs 21,000
  • Maruti Suzuki India recently launched a newer version of its popular hatchback ‘Alto’ and has upgraded its Multi-Purpose Vehicle ‘Ertiga’ with a new diesel engine
  • Mahindra & Mahindra, whose latest model ‘XUV300’ is being received well in the market, will launch compact SUV ‘TUV300’ next month
  • Tata Motors is set to launch its premium hatchback ‘Altroz’ in India in mid-2019
  • Toyota will is planning to launch ‘Glanza’, the first product to come out of the Toyota-Suzuki agreement, in the second half of 2019
  • New players MG Motors and Kia Motors have also lined up their SUVs for launch in the coming months
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