More reports on: Commercial vehicles, Cars

Automakers show mixed performance in December, but mostly upbeat

02 January 2018

India's automobile sector as a whole continued to show good growth in December, though some manufacturers lagged behind.

Market leader Maruti Suzuki India and fellow Japanese rival Honda Cars India Ltd (HCIL) clocked robust double digit growth in car sales in the domestic market in December to round off the year on a high note.

However, Hyundai Motor India, the second biggest car producer in the country, reported flat growth in domestic sales last month, while home grown utility vehicle major Mahindra & Mahindra recorded a decline of 7 per cent in its domestic passenger vehicle sales last month.

Mahindra's fellow home-grown manufacturer Tata Motors on the other hand reported a 52.48 per cent jump in total sales at 54,627 units in December.

The company had sold 35,825 units in the same month previous year, Tata Motors said in a statement.

Domestic sales of commercial vehicles (CV) last month stood at 40,447 units as against 24,998 units in the same month previous year, a jump of 61.8 per cent.

Tata Motors head of commercial vehicle business unit Girish Wagh said the growth of CV sales in December was on the on the back of new product introductions across segments and improved availability of the new range of BS4 vehicles.

"Increased demand for new tonnage vehicles, infrastructure development led by government funding and keen focus on customer requirements has helped reviving the M&HCV performance ... with a well-defined CV strategy in place, we are confident of improving our performance across segments," he said.

Maruti Suzuki said its domestic sales were at 1,19,286 units, up 12.1 per cent, from 1,06,414 in December 2016.

The sales were mainly driven by compact segment, comprising Swift, Dzire and Baleno, which jumped by 23.2 per cent to 53,336 units last month. Utility vehicle sales, including Grand Vitara, Ertiga, S-Cross and compact SUV Vitara Brezza, increased by 19.9 per cent to 19,276 units in December from 16,072 in the same month of 2016, the company.

Sales of mini segment cars such as Alto and WagonR witnessed a 2 per cent rise to 32,146 units during the month under review from 31,527 units in December 2016.

Honda reported a 26 per cent surge in its domestic sales at 12,642 units in December, compared with 10,071 units in the same month last year

For the full calendar year 2017, Honda registered a cumulative growth of 15 per cent, selling 1,78,755 units up from 1,56,107 units in 2016. The company said its premium sedan City reported cumulative sales of 62,573 units in 2017 to become the highest selling mid-size sedan during the year.

Honda Cars India Ltd experienced robust growth during 2017 backed by good demand for all our products across segments, especially the Honda City and WR-V, HCIL president and chief executive Yoichiro Ueno said.

However, Hyundai Motor India could post only marginal increase domestic sales at 40,158 units last month compared with 40,057 units in December 2016.

For the calendar year 2017, the company posted record domestic sales of 5,27,320 units, up 5.4 per cent from 5,00,539 units in 2016.

Mahindra & Mahindra said sales of its passenger vehicles, including Scorpio, XUV500, Xylo, Bolero and Verito, were down 7 per cent to 15,543 units compared to 16,799 units in December 2016.

M&M president automotive sector Rajan Wadhera said global automotive trends such as electric vehicles and shared mobility will be key indicators for 2018 and Mahindra would continue to be an important and innovative player.

In the two-wheeler sector, TVS Motor Company reported a 39-per cent leap in total sales at 2,56,909 units in December. It had sold 1,84,944 units in the same month last year.

Commercial vehicles maker VE Commercial Vehicles reported a 49.5 per cent increase in total sales at 6,087 units in December.

The company, a joint venture between Volvo Group and Eicher Motors, had sold 4,071 units in December 2016, VE Commercial Vehicles (VECV) said in a statement. The December sales figure includes 5,955 units of Eicher brand and 132 units of Volvo brand.

Among the factors fuelling demand in December was dealer discounts aimed at clearing inventories. Moreover sales may have been driven by purchases in the wedding season, analysts said.

However, they also pointed out that some buyers would wait for January rather than own a dated model, especially since excise duties are now fixed under GST and unlike in past years will not change in February or March.

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