Two-wheeler companies fare better in October

The run-up to Diwali has not been encouraging for India’s biggest carmakers.

With high interest rates, rising fuel prices and worries over the economy combining to keep buyers away, automotive sales were a mixed bag in October, with just a few smaller players and two-wheeler makers reporting strong numbers.

Marginal growth

Car market leader Maruti Suzuki India was just about able to maintain sales at the level it had reached during the same month a year ago.

It sold just 60 more vehicles in October 2013 over the 96,002 units sold in the same month last year.

Similarly, Hyundai Motor India (HMIL), the second-largest car manufacturer, could also log only a 0.6 per cent growth in domestic sales during the month, at 36,002 units.

Hyundai, however, sees the numbers as encouraging, since October was a much better month than September.

“In this challenging market environment, sales have increased over the last month by 17 per cent on account of festival buying and strong sales of 11,519 units of our new model, Grand,” said Rakesh Srivastava, Senior Vice-President, Sales and Marketing. However, the subsidiaries of foreign companies, such as Honda Cars India, Ford India (9,163 units), Toyota Kirloskar Motor (13,162 units) and General Motors India (7,715 units), saw growth because of new launches.

Some (Honda, Ford) even recorded their highest sales numbers ever this October.

On a roll

Two-wheeler manufacturers were on a roll during the month, with market leader Hero MotoCorp recording sales growth of 18 per cent (year-on-year).

Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India (HMSI) managed 50 per cent year-on-year growth during the month.

Home-grown companies such as Tata Motors and Mahindra & Mahindra saw more challenges because they did not have much to offer either by way of new launches or competitive pricing.

While Tata’s sales dropped by 33 per cent to 14,133 (21,119 units) in October, the Scorpio maker’s sales dropped by 15 per cent Y-o-Y to 22,924 units (26,932 units).

Reflecting the weak economy, Tata Motors’ commercial vehicle sales also dropped 30 per cent during the month (32,793 units) in comparison with October last year, when the company sold 47,026 units.

However, M&M saw commercial-vehicle sales rise 5 per cent to 17,362 units in October ( 16,561 units).

“In spite of new launches, the auto sector has witnessed de-growth (shrinkage) of nearly five per cent during the first half of this fiscal year and the recent repo rate hike may prove to be a dampener for potential customers,” said Pravin Shah, Chief Executive, Automotive Division, Mahindra & Mahindra.

The auto industry continues to seek immediate support in terms of a stimulus package to bring back growth momentum for the economy in general and the automotive sector in particular, he said.

Honda Cars India sold 11,214 units in October, against 8,085 cars in the corresponding month last year.

Meet growing demand

In the two-wheeler segment, Hero MotoCorp sold 6.25 lakh units in October (5.29 lakh units).

“Our factories have been working to capacity to meet the added demand in this festival season.

“With Dhanteras and Diwali in November, we are prepared to maintain this retail momentum,” said Anil Dua, Senior Vice-President (Marketing and Sales), Hero MotoCorp.

Interestingly, HMSI, which has been aiming to become the number one two-wheeler manufacturer in India, managed to sell 3.75 lakh units last month against 2.50 lakh units in October 2012.

Tamil Nadu-based TVS Motor Company managed to increase its sales by just 2 per cent in October (1.90 lakh units) compared with October last year (1.86 lakh units).

Yamaha Motor India said it crossed the 50,000-mark for the first time, registering growth of 32 per cent year-on-year.

The company sold 51,808 units in October (39,638 units).

ronendrasingh.s@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on November 1, 2013)
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