The fast-changing buying patterns of consumers seem to have affected the rankings of major automobile companies. This has resulted in some automotive firms struggling to stay afloat, while their competitors charging ahead.
The dismal performance of Tata Motors during the year after the failure of products such as Aria, Venture and Winger, saw the company losing the third spot to Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) and later the fourth spot to Toyota Kirloskar.
While M&M's FY13 sales grew a robust 28 per cent to 282,275 units till February, riding on the back of new launches such as Quanto and XUV500, Tata Motors posted a sharp drop in sales across segments. Sales of Nano declined 18 per cent to 52,341 units in the period. In February, Nano sales crashed by a massive 84 per cent to 1,505 units from 9,217 units in February 2012.
Two-wheeler major Honda has made rapid gains in India and within 12 years of its debut, dislodging TVS Motors and later Bajaj Auto to claim the third and second spot, respectively.
The Japanese brand is now challenging market leader Hero MotoCorp's stranglehold on the Indian market. According to market observers, it is likely to surpass the Munjal-family led company by 2015, a full five years ahead of its earlier target of 2020 if the slowdown persists in India.
Honda's market share stands at 18.6 per cent at present, while Hero commands a 43 per cent share. However, the story does not end here. More such examples emerge in different segments where incumbents have been challenged by newcomers, resulting in their position loss. Riding on the success of the Duster, French car maker Renault overtook sales of alliance partner Nissan and European car makers such as SkodaAuto and Fiat in India, despite its noted exit from the loss-making joint venture with M&M.
Renault, which sold 2,661 units during the April-February period of FY12, increased volumes 16-fold in the same period this year at 44,231 vehicles. Nearly 75 per cent of its volumes came from only the Duster sports utility vehicle.
What is also notable is that Renault has surged ahead of car makers such as SkodaAuto, which started operations in 2001 but yet only commands a market share of 1.1 per cent after a 12-year stint. After several years in operation, Italian car maker Fiat is still struggling with a 0.3 per cent share. Renault's share stands at 1.8 per cent ahead of partner Nissan at 1.4 per cent.
While high demand for utility vehicles pushed M&M ahead of Tata Motors in the passenger vehicle segment, M&M has also trumped Ashok Leyland to become India's second largest commercial vehicle manufacturer.
Mini trucks such as Maxximo and pick-up like the Genio have garnered new volumes for M&M. Chennai-based Ashok Leyland, a market leader in buses, has made a late entry into the light truck segment with the Dost, whose ramp-up is at a nascent stage. The general slowdown in demand has hit Ashok Leyland harder as its portfolio heavily depends on medium and heavy trucks. M&M's share in the CV segment stands at 18 per cent, while that of Ashok Leyland is at 13 per cent. Tata Motors remains the leader in the segment with a share of 56 per cent, as of February.
Meanwhile, Venu Srinivasan-led TVS Motor Co. is struggling to keep pace with the market even as the company lost its position in the scooter segment to Hero MotoCorp. Hero is now the second-largest player in scooter category, while TVS slipped to third. TVS had been the market leader in scooter segment before Honda made its entry with the Activa.