Tata, GM, Ford lose even as car sales continue pick-up in Sept

In a sign of continued revival of the Indian automotive industry, leading car makers like Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai, Honda, Toyota and Mahindra & Mahindra saw good growth in domestic sales in September, ahead of the festive season.

However, a few carmakers like Tata Motors, General Motors and Ford India a reported decline in sales for the month, which included the 15-day 'shraadh' period, considered inauspicious by some Hindus for new purchases.

Tata Motors has just hired former Maruti Suzuki marketing head Mayank Pareek in a move obviously aimed at boosting its low share in the Indian passenger vehicle market. (See: Tata Motors snaps up Maruti's Mayank Pareek to boost car sales).

Maruti Suzuki said its domestic sales during the month stood at 99,290 units, up 9.8 per cent from 90,399 units in September last year.

The company's sales were as usual driven by its compact cars, comprising the Swift, Estilo, Celerio, Ritz and Dzire, which clocked 43,304 units as against 36,679 units in the year-ago month, up 18.1 per cent.

Sales of small cars including the Alto, A-Star and WagonR were down 13.4 per cent at 35,547 units as against 41,061 units in the same month previous year.

Rival Hyundai Motor India sold 35,041 units last month in the domestic market as compared to 30,601 units in September 2013, up 14.5 per cent.

Hyundai India senior vice-president (sales and marketing) Rakesh Srivastava said the domestic growth was on the back of strong performance of new models, including the new Elite i20 that sold 8,902 units.

''In this festive season, we are seeing a significant increase in first-time buyers and exchange buyers, which is very encouraging as it will accelerate the positive momentum already being experienced in the last few months,'' he added.

Honda Cars India also reported A 45-per cent increase in domestic sales in September 2014 at 15,015 units as against 10,354 units in the same month last year.

''We continue to perform strongly with strong demand for all our models during this festival period,'' Honda senior vice-president (marketing and sales) Jnaneswar Sen said.

He added that the company has resumed production of its flagship model Honda City during September 2014, and in coming months, the firm would be able to ensure better availability and timely delivery to fill the huge demand.

Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM) said its sales in domestic market stood at 12,552 units during the month, up 4.46 per cent as compared to 12,015 units in the same month last year.

TKM senior vice president (sales and marketing) N Raja said, ''We have registered growth this month. The industry is beginning to gradually turnaround. Positive market sentiments combined with the festive season is expected to boost sales in the coming months as well.''

Homegrown auto major Mahindra & Mahindra's domestic sales grew by 4.5 per cent to 42,408 units last month as against 40,574 units a year earlier.

M&M chief executive, automotive division and international operations, Pravin Shah said, ''The sales numbers for September have been encouraging and we are glad that the automotive industry is turning the bend.''

He further said, ''We expect the ensuing festive season to bring in some much needed cheer with a slew of new launches from manufacturers... We do hope that the recently launched New Generation Scorpio will continue to be a trendsetter.''

General Motors India, however, reported 37.38 per cent decline in September sales at 4,413 units as against 7,048 units sold in the same month of last year.

GM India vice president P Balendran said, ''There is some positive movement in the market due to the festival season and new entries. However, the complete recovery of the automobile industry is still some time away.''

Ford India's domestic sales also declined 36.22 per cent to 6,786 units in September as against 10,640 units in the same month previous year.

Honda leads bike race
In the two-wheeler segment, Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India (HMSI) reported 33.32 per cent growth in domestic sales for September at 4,38,521 units as against at 3,28,907 units in the same month last year.

Yamaha Motor India also reported 26.78 per cent increase in domestic two-wheeler sales at 59,325 units in September as compared to 46,790 units in the same month last year.

Chennai-based TVS Motor Co said its domestic two-wheeler sales grew by 29 per cent at 2,17,447 units in September 2014 as compared to 1,68,598 units in the same month last year.

Bajaj Auto reported a 7.14 per cent increase in motorcycle sales at 3,47,010 units during the month as against 3,23,879 units in the corresponding month of previous year.