Image used for representational purpose.
Image used for representational purpose.

Waning demand, high base effect pull down car sales

The industry is now pinning hopes on new launches, a normal monsoon and a favourable election outcome to generate fresh demand and push sales growth numbers higher.

NEW DELHI: Impacted by waning pent-up demand over a very high base, passenger vehicle (PV) wholesales are estimated to have grown by a meagre 1.50% year-on-year in April 2024 to about 340,000 units. Sales of the three top players – Maruti Suzuki (MSIL), Hyundai Motor (HMIL) and Tata Motors - barely managed to remain in green last month.

“The relatively subdued growth partly stems from waning pent-up replacement demand, which supported the industry over the past couple of years, and also the effect of a higher base,” said Srikumar Krishnamurthy, Senior VP & Co-Group Head - Corporate Ratings, ICRA Limited.

“The domestic PV industry reached an all-time high volume of 4.2 million units in FY24, with retail sales being aided by healthy replacement demand. Even as the underlying demand drivers remain supportive, the volume growth for the PV segment is likely to moderate to 3-6% (from an elevated base) during FY2025,” added Krishnamurthy.

The industry is now pinning hopes on new launches, a normal monsoon and a favourable election outcome to generate fresh demand and push sales growth numbers higher. The country’s largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki’s (MSIL) domestic PV sales stood at 137,952 units in April 2024 compared to 137,320 units sold in April 2023 - a flat growth. This is a big slump sequentially given the carmaker had sold 152,718 units in March 2023.

MSIL sales were lifted by the utility vehicle segment as demand for its mini and compact cars continued to remain under tremendous pressure. The carmaker is now betting big on the new Swift to revive its fortune in the compact segment.

Hyundai Motor India (HMIL) registered total sales of 63,701 units (Domestic 50,201 units and exports 13, 500 units) in April 2024, posting a YOY growth of 9.5%. HMIL’s domestic sales, however, grew by just 1% YoY to 50,201 units last month.

“In the first month of the new financial year, it looks like industry sales grew about 1.5%. This is because of the high base of the last two years. The high base effect is catching up,” said Tarun Garg, COO at Hyundai Motor India. Garg added that the order bank for them as well as for the industry is diminishing fast. For Hyundai, the order bank is pegged at 70,000 (half of this is for the newly launched Creta SUV).

Tata Motors dispatched a total of 47,883 units in the first month of FY2024, up 2% year on year. Meanwhile, Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM) announced that 20,494 units were sold in the month of April 2024, representing a Y-o-Y growth of 32%. TKM’s domestic sales stood at 18,700 units last month compared to 14,162 units in April 2023. 

SUV major Mahindra & Mahindra sold 41,008 vehicles in the domestic market, a growth of 18% and overall,41,542 vehicles, including exports. Veejay Nakra, President, Automotive Division, M&M, “In April, we launched the XUV 3XO, tailored to a broad spectrum of customers across categories. With a unique blend of innovation, safety, comfort, performance and price starting at INR 7.49lakhs, the XUV3XO is set to be the new disrupter in the compact SUV space.”

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