Festival season failed to bring cheer to car makers, as major players including Maruti Suzuki India, Hyundai and Mahindra were unable to register significant sales growth during the month, which otherwise has been one of the best periods for vehicle sales in the country.
While Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai posted marginal rise in sales during October, others including utility vehicle major Mahindra & Mahindra, Toyota Kirloskar and Ford registered decline in sales as compared to same period of previous year as sentiments remained subdued.
Honda Cars India was the exception posting 18.8 per cent rise in October sales.
The country’s largest car maker Maruti Suzuki said its domestic sales during the month stood at 97,069 units, up 1 per cent from 96,062 units in October last year. The company said sales during the month, which sees major festivals, were impacted due to less number of working days during the month.
“Owing to festivals and state elections, during October 2014 Maruti Suzuki had 19 working days. This limited the availability of vehicles during the month. In October 2013 Maruti Suzuki had 24 working days,” the company said.
Exports were also affected during the month as shipment of around 1,000 units to Algeria and Egypt was rescheduled to November 2014 due to cyclonic conditions in Gujarat area, it added.
The company’s sales in the compact segment comprising Swift, Estilo, Celerio, Ritz and Dzire declined by 3.5 per cent to 37,083 units in October this year as against 38,410 units during the same period last year. The recently launched mid-sized sedan Ciaz, however, received good response in the market with the company selling 6,345 units in October.
Rival Hyundai Motor India Ltd (HMIL) sold 38,010 units last month in the domestic market as compared to 36,002 units in October 2013, up 5.57 per cent.
HMIL Senior Vice President (Sales and Marketing) Rakesh Srivastava said there was increase in sales in additional and replacement buyers segment with demand led by new models like Elite i20, Xcent, coupled with festival buying.
“We anticipate that this positive momentum would build up further with increase in sales of entry buyers if there is strong promise of improvement in economic and macro factors in rural and urban markets,” he added.
Homegrown auto major Mahindra & Mahindra’s domestic sales declined by 15.71 per cent to 40,274 units last month as against 47,787 units a year earlier.
“Our sales for the month of October remained subdued on the back of overall sentiment and high interest rates,” M&M Chief Executive Automotive Division and International Operations (AFS) Pravin Shah said. .
Honda Cars India reported 18.08 per cent increase in domestic sales in October 2014 at 13,242 units as against 11,214 units in the same month last year.
“We have clocked excellent sales during the year so far where all our products have received tremendous response,” HCIL Senior Vice-President (Marketing and Sales) Jnaneswar Sen said.
Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM) said its sales in domestic market stood at 12,556 units during the month, down 4.6 per cent as compared to 13,162 units in the same month last year.
Commenting on the sales performance, TKM Senior Vice President (Sales and Marketing) N Raja said: “We have maintained the sales volumes as September, in the domestic market and hope to see growth in the next two months”.
Ford India’s domestic sales also declined 26.62 per cent to 6,723 units in October as against 9,163 units in the same month of previous year.
“Macro-economic indicators suggest a gradual recovery in the economy. But the positive customer sentiment is yet to translate into vehicle sales, potentially due to high interest rates and inflation,” Ford India Marketing, Sales and Service executive director, Anurag Mehrotra said.
Japanese car maker Nissan also reported a 15.86 per cent decline in sales at 4,106 units in India for the month of October.