Sales at Maruti Suzuki, the country’s top car maker, fell 4.3% while Hyundai, the second-largest company, and Tata Motors witnessed subdued growth. Petrol cars bore most of the brunt.
Only Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) and car companies that have smaller base posted good numbers.
Maruti Suzuki sold 89,478 units against a 93,519 units sold in May 2011. Its mini segment, which mainly comprises petrol cars — M800, Alto, A-Star and Wagon R — saw sales decline 29%, while its super- compact segment that includes Dzire grew 64%. The overall passenger vehicle sales at Maruti fell 6%. On the other hand, its utility vehicles (UV) segment grew 603% on the back of the newly-launched Ertiga.
Hyundai’s India sales for May grew a sober 2.8% at 32,010 units.
Arvind Saxena, director, marketing and sales, Hyundai India, said, “The recent hike in petrol prices has depressed market sentiment, with the macro-economic indicators providing no cause for cheer, the demand outlook doesn’t look very bright.”
The government hiked petrol prices by `7.50 on May 23, dampening industry sentiment.
For Tata Motors, domestic passenger vehicle sales grew 6% at 20,503 units over the year-ago period. Nano sales grew 31% while Indica and Indigo declined 1% and 20%, respectively. M&M’s passenger vehicle segment, including UVs and Verito, sold 26% more vehicles at 21,154 units last month compared to 16,702 units a year ago.
Honda Siel sold 10,334 units last month compared to 2,334 units last year, a growth of 343%. Toyota Kirloskar Motor grew 108% as it sold 15,501 units as compared to 7,470 units in May last year. Ford India sales dropped to 6,036 units compared to 7,046 units in May 2011.
“Despite the challenging market conditions, Ford is confident in the long-term future of the automotive market in India. We are working to offer more diesel vehicles to keep up with increased demand,” said Michael Boneham, president and managing director, Ford India.
Two-wheeler makers continued to post healthy growth rates as customers bought vehicles for better fuel efficiency. Market leader Hero MotoCorp dispatched 11.3% more vehicles at 556,644 units last month over the year-ago period. Honda Motorcycles and Scooters India sales grew 52% at 221,540 units.
“The numbers have been disappointing from most of the manufacturers except M&M and Hero MotoCorp. There is a stress on petrol cars. However, even in the diesel car segment, the demand is more skewed towards specific models. For example sales of Tata Motors’ Indica and Indigo range have seen a decline. So a model-specific demand is emerging in the diesel segment,” said Deepak Jain, AVP, Sharekhan.