Car sales end 2017-18 on a strong note

A majority of the car brands ended 2017-18 on an upbeat note, registering a growth in passenger vehicle sales. Volumes were boosted due to a steady introduction of new models and refreshes even as uncertainty over the impact of GST affected demand.

The passenger vehicle sector continues to fire on all cylinders as it grew 8 per cent year-on-year to 32.9 lakh vehicles and crossed the three million sales mark for the second year in a row. The surging demand for SUVs, particularly compact SUVs, helped boost overall passenger car sles. Demand for utility vehicles is slowly eating into the passenger car market. In 2017-18, utility vehicles accounted for 28 per cent of overall sales as compared to 25 percent in the previous year. Leading player Maruti sold 16,43,467 units, a growth of 13.8 per cent, over the previous year. Further strengthening its dominance, the brand cornered a market share of 50 percent for the financial year.Although the Alto and WagonR together again accounted the largest chunk of volumes, the segment grew at modest 3.2 per cent. Maruti’s utility vehicles such as Vitara Brezza, S-Cross, Ertiga and Gypsy were the major growth driver for the company with the Brezza leading the charge.

Hyundai Motor India, closed 2017-18 with 5.5 per cent increase in sales. The Elite i20, Grand i10 and the Creta remained steady performers for the entire year and the third-gen Verna also found substantial takers.

Mahindra’s cumulative passenger vehicle sales during the year saw a five per cent increase. The company benefitted from its rural market strategy, which has boosted the sales of the Bolero. The model was one of the top 10 best selling passenger vehicle in February.

Tata Motors, closed the year with 22 per cent growth. The company drove ahead of Honda to occupy the fourth position among the top-selling car companies in the year. Tata launched a couple of new products, including the compact sedan sibling of its blockbuster Tiago hatchback – the Tigor – as well as the Nexon compact crossover. The company also introduced AMT options into the Tiago and the Tigor. While its passenger cars’ sales declined marginally by four per cent, the utility vehicles posted significant growth; albeit on a very low base.

Honda’s sales increased eight percent, majorly on the back of City and the WR-V. The latter drove past the 50,000 sales mark last week. The City contributed to 33 per cent of the total sales.

On the other hand, Toyota posted a slump of 1.9 per cent in sales in 2017-18and nine percent negative growth in March at 12,539 units. Toyota’s immensely popular Innova Crysta MPV formed the bulk of the sales, contributing to 52 per cent of the total sales. The Japanese carmaker said that it sold 83 per cent more Fortuners and 16 per cent more Corollas. Toyota is expected to launch the feature-laden Yaris sedan, next month, to tap the mid-size sedan market.

Sales of Ford cars were  down 1.5 per cent in 2017-18 although the company witnessed a revival in  March volumes. At present, majority of the Ford sales are attributed to the EcoSport, as all the other models have failed to keep up with competition in their respective segments. AutoCar

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