Car makers that beat the slowdown

Parvatha Vardhini C. BL Research Bureau | Updated on March 12, 2018 Published on April 22, 2013

BL21_Car sales.eps

Maruti stages diesel-fuelled recovery; Honda, Nissan see higher volumes

Domestic car makers ended 2012-13 with a 7 per cent drop in sales, the sharpest such decline in a decade. But there was silver lining amid the gloom for companies such as Maruti Suzuki, Honda, Nissan and Renault. They are among the car makers that bucked the trend, selling more cars in 2012-13 than in the previous year.

Juggernaut rolls on

Maruti Suzuki began the fiscal on a sober note with strikes/plant shutdowns and constraints on production of diesel engines. But, thanks to the runaway demand for mid-priced diesel cars, the company closed the year with a 1 per cent sales growth. This growth helped the company improve its market share in passenger cars to 45.4 per cent, compared with 42 per cent in 2011-12. Even as sales of older models such as the Alto, Wagon R and A-Star faltered, the Swift and the Dzire kept the company flag flying, mainly on the strength of diesel variants. Dzire alone clocked about 1.7 lakh units — up 54 per cent year-on-year.

Thanks to the Dzire, the ‘super compact’ segment (comprising also the Accent, Verito, Dzire and Etios sedan) was the only segment where volumes rose in 2012-13. Overall sales volumes for all other passenger car segments — micro, mini, compact, mid-size, executive, premium and luxury — took a beating. In fact, Maruti did well during the previous slowdown in 2008-09 too. While passenger cars as a whole achieved 1.3 per cent volume growth (year-on-year) that year, Maruti’s volumes grew by 3 per cent.

Honda, Nissan

Honda was another company that bucked the trend. Its sales volumes grew by 35 per cent in 2012-13, helped by small cars such as Jazz and Brio.

In 2008-09, its volumes had slipped by 15 per cent despite its popular high-end offerings, such as the City, Civic and Accord. In the coming months, the addition of the Amaze to Honda’s compact car portfolio could bolster sales.

For Nissan and Renault, new launches with diesel variants helped to keep sales ticking.

Nissan’s volume growth of 7.6 per cent in 2012-13, was predominantly aided by the mid-sized Sunny. The Micra could not muster enough sales, despite the availability of a diesel model.

The Nissan Micra’s sales volumes dropped by almost 40 per cent in 2012-13. This could be because of the Renault Pulse, a compact car on the same platform as Micra introduced in 2011-12.

Both the Pulse and the mid-sized Scala (introduced in 2012-13) helped Renault clock healthy volume growth amid the slowdown in the industry.

Unlike cars, vans notched up a 1 per cent growth in 2012-13 and utility vehicles had a dream run, growing 53 per cent.

Published on April 22, 2013
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