Strong Oct sales put automakers in high gear


Deep discounts and a flurry of new launches have pushed up passenger vehicle sales in the festive season, with 10 leading auto makers together posting a growth of 36 per cent to sell 222,168 units last month.

Industry sales were propped up by market leader Maruti Suzuki India Limited (MSIL), which increased volumes by 87 per cent to sell 96,002 units in October. The company posted a growth of 69 per cent in its bread-and-butter entry-level small car segment at 42,233 units. The segment had seen sales languishing for the major part of this year due to waning demand for petrol cars. Petrol vehicle sales declined by 20 per cent during the April-September period of this year.

Mayank Pareek, chief operating officer (sales & marketing), MSIL, said: “We are enthused by the response to the new Alto, which has received over 32,000 bookings. The initial signs during the festive season have been very good for the company, with fresh bookings going up by 18 per cent.”

Deep discounts and model launches pushed up passenger vehicle sales last month with 10 of India’s leading automakers together selling 222,168 units Maruti Suzuki India, the country's largest carmaker, said its October sales grew at a record 86.6%, buoyed by strong demand for the new version of the Alto and a low comparison base  Sales traditionally rise in India during the festival season Mahindra & Mahindra, India's top SUV maker, posted its highest-ever monthly sales volume in October thanks to demand for its XUV500, Quanto and Scorpio models  CAR SALES Company October'11  October'12  % Growth Maruti Suzuki  51,458 96,002 86.6 Hyundai Motor  33,001 35,778 8.0 Tata Motors  25,124 21,119 -16.0 M&M 18,756 26,932 43.6 Honda Cars India  5,526 8,085 46.0 Toyota  10,762 12,281 14.0 Ford   8,091 7,577 -6.4 General Motors  10,062 6,754 -32.9 Audi  482 850 76.0 Renault  173 6,790 3825.0 Total    1,163,435 222,168 35.9 Domestic sales  only                                                                    Source : industry


Although the growth at MSIL has come on a low base (the company had suffered major disruptions in production due to labour unrest at its Manesar facility in October 2011), Pareek is confident that the company would perform better in the coming quarters.

“We have an order backlog of 125,000 units for the Swift, DZire and Ertiga. Overall, the passenger vehicle industry has grown by 6.9 per cent in the first two quarters. We expect the second half to be much better given that all the major festivals and corporate and pre-budget purchases will happen now,” said Pareek.

Festivals of Navratri and Dussehra spruced volumes New launches by Yamaha, Honda and Suzuki helped bring added volumes Models such as Ray, Dream Yuga and Hayate built sales Hero MotoCorp which was struggling with high inventory got back to over 5 lakh volume Hero claimed that its dealers sold over 3.50 lakh units of two-wheelers in just the first 15 days of the festive period   TWO-WHEELERS  Company October'11 October'12 % Growth  Hero MotoCorp  512,238* 529,215* 3.3 TVS Motors  159,887 170,273 6.49 Yamaha  38,229 39,368 2.97 Suzuki  11,513* 36,206* 214.47 Honda  178,181* 250,606* 40.64 Total  900,048 1,025,668 13.95 *Includes exports                                                                                                                                       Source:- Companies


After reporting a 14 per cent decline in sales in September this year, Korean auto major Hyundai Motor India Limited (HMIL), grew volumes by eight per cent to sell 35,778 units in the domestic market. Rakesh Srivastava, vice-president (marketing & sales), said: “The festivals brought in positive growth in domestic sales with resurgence in petrol variants. All models showed a growth especially with strong demand of Eon and Elantra.”

Homegrown auto major Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) and French carmaker Renault India reported their best ever monthly sales on the back of demand for utility vehicles. While M&M saw strong demand for the newly-launched compact sports utility vehicle Quanto, the XUV500 and Scorpio, nearly 80 per cent of Renault’s sales came from the Duster which saw an off-take of 5,406 units last month.

Despite the spike in sales, company executives and industry observers are cautious. “In the coming months, the challenge would be to convert customer interest into sales as the general inflationary trend, high fuel prices and interest rates are still keeping the customer sentiment low,” said Srivastava.

Tata Motors, in fact, failed to cash in on the festive demand in October, with sales plunging by 16 per cent to 21,119 units. US-based auto majors Ford and General Motors — both did not have any new model launches in recent months — followed suit and reported a dip in demand for vehicles.

“We have not had any new model launch this year. With the Sail coming in tomorrow, we are expecting the sales to go up”, said P Balendran, vice-president, (corporate affairs), GM India. Sales at the company declined by a third to 6,754 units last month.

Shares of Maruti Suzuki were trading at Rs 1,455.2 a piece, up 1.3 per cent at close at the Bombay Stock Exchange. The M&M stock on Thursday touched a new high of Rs 903.50, to close at Rs 898.90.