Better sentiment, new models boost auto sales; Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai, Honda … – Economic Times

Posted: Tuesday, June 03, 2014
NEW DELHI: Most carmakers in the country reported double-digit sales growth in May, sending out signals that the worst negative period in the Indian auto market may have come to an end after two years of continuous slide.

Market leader Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai, Honda, Toyota and Ford have all sold more vehicles in the domestic market last month than in May 2013 on the back of improving consumer sentiment as well as the success of several new models in the market. Some companies such as Mahindra & Mahindra, Tata Motors and General Motors, however, continued to struggle in May.

Maruti Suzuki India posted its best monthly domestic sales so far this calendar in May, selling 90,560 cars, 16.4% more than May last year. A 51.2% jump in exports helped it record cumulative sales of 100,925 cars, up 19.2% year on year, the company said in a statement issued on Monday.

Better sentiment, new models boost auto sales; Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai, Honda, Toyota and Ford see riseSales of its compact models Swift, Estilo and Ritz rose 53.9% to 26,394 units in May, while mini models Alto, A-Star and WagonR reported 7.5% decline in sales at 29,068 units. Sales of popular compact sedan Dzire rose 9.8% to 18,953 units in May, but sales of mid-sized sedan SX4 dropped 75.9% to mere 121 units.

Hyundai, the country’s second-largest car manufacturer, on Monday reported 12.8% year-on-year jump in its domestic sales in May at 36,205 units. “The phenomenal success of Xcent, Grand and Santa Fe increased volumes creating positive momentum,” said Rakesh Srivastava, senior vice-president for sales and marketing at Hyundai Motor India. Honda Cars India on Monday announced 18% sales in May on the back of rising demand for the new Honda City and Amaze compact sedan, while US rival Ford reported 51% year-on-year jump in sales last month.

Analysts portrayed a better picture for the car industry in the coming months, but warned that the sluggish consumer sentiments may prevail for a few more months. “After a dismal outlook for the industry in the last two years, all the segments — especially cars and commercial vehicles — are expected to post a moderate growth in FY15,” said Abdul Majeed, partner with Price Waterhouse. He said positive consumer sentiment will be the key for sales revival in the next six months. “If the new government retains the excise duty cuts announced in the interim budget, it will boost consumer sentiment during the festive season with an anticipated 3%-5% growth for passenger vehicle segment in FY15,” Majeed said.

May was not a good month for everybody. Tata Motors, the country’s largest automaker by revenues, for example, continued to face tough times with its domestic passenger vehicle sales dipped 17% year on year at 9,230 units. Sales of its cars Nano, Indica and Indigo declined 22% to 6,932 while utility vehicles such as Sumo, Safari, Aria and Venture reported a sales growth of 4% at 2,298 units.

American carmaker General Motors, too, reported a 42.76% decline in May sales to 4,865 units. “The automobile industry has been passing through challenging times for the past two years as the general economic and consumer sentiments have failed to pick up,” P Balendran, vice president at General Motors India, said on Monday. India’s top utility vehicle maker M&M had on Sunday reported a 19% slide in its passenger vehicles sales in May at 18,085 units.

Pravin Shah, chief executive, automotive division, at Mahindra & Mahindra, expressed hopes of a revival in sales under the new central government. “Post the electoral mandate, we expect to see improved sentiments resulting in a better economic situation, which we hope will lead to a gradual increase in demand,” he said.


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