November sees strong growth for carmakers; Maruti, Ford shine

The Indian car market maintained the same pace of growth in November that it had achieved in the festive season in October, showing that the industry is finding its feet again.

The monthly auto sales report for November 2017 saw Indian auto manufacturers post double-digit growth numbers. Market leader Maruti Suzuki grew over 14 per cent in November compared to the corresponding month last year, whereas Mahindra and Mahindra saw overall sales of its automobile arm rise 13 per cent and Ford grew by over 28 per cent.

While domestic sales saw healthy growth for all carmakers active in India, exports seem to have taken a hit over the course of last month. Maruti Suzuki's exports figures remained grounded with a meagre 0.8 per cent growth rate. Toyota was the worst hit with exports falling by over 46 per cent during November. Contrastingly, Ford India was able to post over 36 per cent growth in exports, the best the company has achieved from India.

Sales of commercial vehicles, an indicator of economic activity, saw robust growth, led by medium and heavy commercial vehicles. The Centre recently announced a number of infrastructure as well as road and highway projects to boost economic growth, and the effect is becoming visible.

The two-wheeler market, the bellwether of the rural economy as well as urban demand, is also picking up.

''We were not expecting such a strong growth in November, especially after low sales seen in October 2017. This can be due to the low base of November 2016, as sales were impacted due to demonetization. Strong sales will continue in December as well because of the low base effect,'' Gaurav Vangaal, senior automotive forecasting analyst of IHS Markits, told The Economic Times.

Maruti Suzuki: The country's leading car manufacturer Maruti Suzuki India announced 14.1 per cent year-on-year sales growth in November 2017, while rival Toyota saw 7 per cent growth.

The Indo-Japanese Maruti had total sales of 1.54 lakh units compared to the 1.35 lakh units sold in November 2016. The numbers include domestic sales plus exports of both passenger vehicles and the company's light commercial vehicle Super Carry.

Domestic passenger vehicle sales for Maruti last month went up by 14.3 per cent with 1.44 lakh units sold against the 1.26 lakh units that were sold in November 2016.

Exports saw a marginal growth of 0.8 per cent with 9,300 units compared to the 9,225 units exported during the same month last year.

The new Maruti Suzuki Dzire continues to grow in the compact vehicle space. But sales of Maruti Suzuki's mid-size sedan Ciaz have gone down by a massive 26.3 per cent at 4,009 units compared to 5,433 sold in November 2016.

However, compact and utility vehicles have has been growing as always at 32.4 per cent and 34.0 per cent respectively, thanks to the new-gen Dzire and the company's star player Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza.

Toyota: Toyota India registered 7 per cent growth in total sales in November 2017. Toyota's total sales 13,420 units last month compared to the 12,593 units sold in November 2016. Sales in domestic market were much better with the company's registering a 13 per cent growth with 12,734 units in November 2017, against the 11,309 units sold during the same month last year.

Exports on the other hand saw a massive fall of almost 47 per cent with the company exporting 686 units in November 2017, compared to the 1,284 units exported during the same month last year.

Demand for the Innova Crysta and Fortuner is still high, and company is trying to reduce the waiting period.

Commenting on the monthly sales, N Raja, director and senior vice president, sales & marketing, Toyota Kirloskar Motor, said, "The November month has been promising for us with double-digit growth. TKM has sustained a positive growth since last three months. With maximum utilization of Plant 1 and maintaining lean inventory we are trying to reduce the waiting period of Innova and Fortuner for our customers.

''We are delighted that our legendary products Innova Crysta and Fortuner continue to witness strong demand in the market. The demand has grown every month since its launch last year in 2016. This positive growth reflects the confidence customers have on Toyota products delivering the best quality, comfort, safety to customers."

While the company hasn't shared individual numbers, the Toyota Etios Liva is also said to have made a considerable contribution to November sales. Also, while demand for Toyota flagship hybrid car, the Camry hasn't seen any major uplift, the company is optimistic customers will ''understand and appreciate the benefits of clean and green-friendly HV (Hybrid Vehicle) technology''.

Mahindra & Mahindra: Home-grown Mahindra & Mahindra reported a year-on-year increase of 18 per cent in total sales at 38,570 units in November against 32,564 units in the same month last year.

Mahindra saw its sales grow 21 per cent in the Indian auto market with 36,039 units sold last month, compared to 29,869 in November 2016. But exports from Mahindra Motors declined 6 per cent to 2,531 units against 2,695 units in the year-ago month.

Sales of passengers vehicles including the Scorpio, XUV500, Xylo, Bolero and Verito increased 21 per cent to 16,030 units compared to 13,198 units in the same month last year. Commercial vehicle sales were up 22 per cent to 15,554 units in November against 12,718 units in the year-ago period, Mahindra said.

"We are happy to be in a positive growth phase for November 2017, which is usually a lean period post the festive season. We expect our growth momentum to continue on the back of some recent refresh launches as well as the positivity of our product portfolio," Rajan Wadhera, president (automotive sector) at Mahindra told PTI.

Hyundai Motor India: Hyundai Motor India today reported a 10 per cent increase in domestic sales at 44,008 units in November. The company had sold 40,016 units in November 2016, HMIL said in a statement.

Rakesh Srivastava, director (sales and marketing) said growth during the last month has on the back of a strong performance by the next-gen Verna along with Grand i10, Elite i20 and Creta.

"Due to strong pull of festive demand on the strength of buoyant rural markets, we hope to build on this positive momentum with a cumulative retail sales of 2,00,000 units for the period September to December 2017," Srivastava said.

The company has also strengthened exports with dispatch of 2,022 units of Verna to the Middle East market, he added.

Ford India: Ford India today reported a 28.63 per cent increase in total sales at 27,019 units in November this year. The company had sold 21,004 units in the same month last year, Ford India said in a statement. The company were up 13.1 per cent at 7,777 units last month as against 6,876 in November last year, driven mainly by recently-introduced new edition of compact SUV Ford EcoSport, it said.

The company posted its best ever export performance last month. Its exports during the month increased 36.19 per cent to 19,242 units, compared to 14,128 in November 2016.

Anurag Mehrotra, president and managing director, Ford India, said the company is confident of maintaining sales momentum getting into 2018, despite macroeconomic indicators suggesting volatility in inflation and crude prices impacting the industry growth in the near-medium term.