Auto sales boomed in November with all the major passenger vehicle players reporting double-digit growth largely due to a low base as last year during the month demonetisation had led to a complete collapse of sales. While the combined sales (wholesale despatches) of the six top passenger vehicle makers grew 16% over the same month last year, industry sources said that retail sales would be even higher during the month as last year in November due to demonetisation retail sales were hit more than wholesale.
Usually November is a lean month because it comes after the end of the festive season period followed by December when year-end discounts are attractive. But this year, though December sales are expected to be good, it would not be at a level of November because wholesale despatches would be lower as dealers don’t like to carry old inventories to the new year.
Apart from such changes, the trend largely in the sector has been that new launches are driving sales with Maruti Suzuki seeing its domestic sales increasing by 15% year-on-year to 145,300 units during the month largely on the back of its newer vehicles like Baleno, Brezza, Ignis and Dzire. This segment which is called compact saw a jump of 32.4% during the month, while the entry-level segment comprising Alto and WagonR saw a decline of 1.8%.
How the newly launched vehicles are pulling up Maruti’s sales can be understood by the following figures: The waiting list for the Baleno is around 10 weeks while that of the Brezza is about 15-17 weeks. If April-October figures are seen, Maruti’s growth has been around 16%, and those of other manufacturers put together (minus Maruti) is at 0.7%, while that of the overall industry is at 7.7%.
Hyundai Motor India (HMIL), which is the second largest passenger car manufacturer, also reported a 10% jump in sales at 44,008 units during the month on the back of its newly launched sedan Verna. Though Hyundai has been recording sales growth each month, it has been in the low single digits, which has now been reversed due the newly launched vehicle.
HMIL director (sales and marketing) Rakesh Srivastava said growth during the last month was achieved due to the strong performance of next-gen Verna along with the Grand i10, Elite i20 and Creta. “Due to strong pull of festive demand on the strength of buoyant rural markets, we hope to build on this positive momentum with a cumulative retail sales of 2,00,000 units for the period September to December 2017,” he added.
Mahindra & Mahindra reported a sales growth of 21% at 16,030 units. “We are happy to be in a positive growth phase for November 2017, which is usually a lean period post the festive season,” M&M president, automotive sector. Rajan Wadhera said.
Tata Motors saw its passenger vehicle sales grow by 34.7% to 17,157 units. Medium and heavy commercial vehicles also witnessed bumper sales. While Ashok Leyland reported a growth of 54% at 10,641 units, Tata Motors’ sales grew a staggering 88% to 12,851 units. Analysts said that a big reason why heavy truck sales rose from the low base of demonetisation is the government’s plan to make air-conditioned cabins for trucks mandatory from December 31, which has led to pre-buying. Sales also picked up owing to overloading restrictions imposed by various North Indian states, which has led to a demand push for high-tonnage vehicles, especially the 37-tonne and 49-tonne trucks.
In the two-wheeler segment, Bajaj Auto reported a 21% increase in total sales at 3,26,458 units. Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India posted a strong 44% growth in sales at 2,99,414 thanks to its automatic scooter sales, while TVS Motors reported a growth of 6% at 2,03,138 units.