High fuel, interest rates keep buyers away; car makers post marginal increase
Car sales remained largely muted in October despite the start of festive season, mainly due to subdued consumer sentiment as a result of high fuel prices and interest rates. Market leader Maruti Suzuki posted a marginal increase of 0.6% in domestic passenger vehicle sales, to more than 1.35 lakh units in October 2018.
The company said sales of its mini segment cars – Alto and WagonR – rose 1.1% to 32,835 units last month, while those in the compact segment — Swift, Celerio, Ignis, Baleno and Dzire — increased 3.7% to 64,789 units.
The company sold 3,892 units of its mid-size sedan Ciaz, a decline of 5.2% year-on-year. Sales of utility vehicles were also down by 11% to 20,764 units.
On the other hand, Hyundai Motor India posted its highest ever monthly sales of 52,001 units in the domestic market last month, up 4.9%, mainly driven by strong demand for the recently launched new Santro.
“The all new Santro clocked wholesale of over 8,500 units,” Vikas Jain, National Sales Head – Hyundai Motor India, said.
“Despite the festival season, the consumer sentiment has remained subdued last month in comparison to other years,” Honda Cars, which posted a flat growth at 14,233 units, said.
Mahindra and Mahindra said it sold 24,066 passenger vehicles in the country, an increase of 3% over last year.
Rajan Wadhera, president, automotive sector, M&M said, “For the past few months, the automotive industry has been witnessing subdued retail sales for passenger vehicles segment because of low consumer buying sentiment.” He added “one has to remain cautious on how the festive season, ultimately, turns out to be.”
Likewise, Toyota Kirloskar Motor, which posted 2% growth in domestic sales at 12,606 units, expects the buying sentiment to improve in the upcoming months, ensuring a positive sales momentum in the auto industry. “We are happy that we have been able to sustain good customer demand despite the dampening effect on consumer sentiment owing to hike in fuel prices, higher interest rates and increase in insurance premium,” N. Raja, Deputy Managing Director, Toyota Kirloskar Motor said.
Acknowledging that October 2018 was a challenging month for the industry, Tata Motors said it posted a 11% sales growth in PVs at 18,290 units. Mayank Pareek, President, Passenger Vehicles Business Unit, Tata Motors said, “…Tata Motors outstripped the industry growth…We are pleased to sustain positive traction despite strong headwinds such as hike in fuel prices, higher interest rates and increase in insurance premium.”
Likewise, Ford, which saw domestic wholesales grow to 9,044 vehicles from 4,218 units in the same month last year, said, “The industry continues to face headwinds of low consumer sentiment, high fuel price and interest rate in the near term.”
Country’s largest two-wheeler maker Hero MotoCorp said its total sales stood at over 7.34 units last month, a growth of 16.4%. Rival Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India’s total sales were up 12% to more than 5.21 lakh units, of which over 4.90 lakh units were sold in domestic market.
Chennai-based TVS Motor said it registered a growth of 25% in two-wheeler sales to over 3.84 lakh units in October 2018, of which over 3.38 lakh was in domestic market.
Royal Enfield saw a growth of 1% in total sale to 70,452 units, while domestic sales stood at 70,044 units.
Meanwhile, Suzuki Motorcycle India posted a growth of 30.76% in total at 65,689 units, of which 61,768 vehicles were sold in domestic market.
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