In tune with the slowdown of the last two years, car sales continue to crawl, December 2013 data show. But the auto industry is unfazed. It is expecting that new vehicle launches and anticipated economic growth will likely spark auto recovery this year.
Leading companies such as Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai Motor India (HMIL) saw moderate growth in the domestic market. But other carmakers, including Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M), Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM) and Ford India, reported a decline in sales.
Industry experts attributed sluggish sales to factors like expensive finance costs, tighter lending norms and high fuel prices.
Domestic sales of market leader Maruti Suzuki during December stood at at 86,613 units, up 5.5% on-year. Sales of mini passenger cars, including the M800, Alto, A-Star and the WagonR, were up 16.7% on-year at 38,286 units. Sales of its compact cars comprising the Swift, Estilo and the Ritz were, however, down 14.7% on-year at 19,171 units.
HMIL, which trails Maruti in India, sold 28,345 units, up 6.2% on-year. Passenger vehicle sales at M&M, the country’s biggest utility vehicle or UV maker, dropped almost 28% on-year to 16,436 units.
Pravin Shah, CEO of M&M’s automotive division, said, “During the first nine months of the current fiscal, the auto industry has seen a negative growth due to sustained deceleration in economic activity and consequent weakness in consumer and business sentiments. While the immediate turnaround in the auto Industry is not expected without certain policy corrections and support, the worst seems to be over.”
Domestic sales of TKM dropped almost 12% on-year to 10,648 units. Similarly, domestic sales of Ford India slid 9.9% on-year to 5,871 units.
Sandeep Singh, deputy MD and COO, marketing and commercial, TKM, said “The market sentiments do not seem to be improving. In the last few months, we have made our best efforts to control inventory both at TKM and at our dealers end.”