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Car sales take the middle road in 2016-17

Eight automobile companies that comprise the chunk of the car market recorded 10.5 percent year-on-year increase in sales in 2016-17

On the back of pickup in demand during the last quarter of the year, eight of the 16 car companies who declare their monthly sales registrations to apex industry body SIAM and comprise chunk of the industry, recorded 10.52 percent year-on-year (YoY) growth in sales. The continuing surge in SUV sales and increased off-take by app-based taxi service providers like Ola and Uber have helped drive the gains.

Leading car maker, Maruti Suzuki, is striding confidently towards its targeted 2 million sales in 2020. In 2016-17, the company crossed the 1.5 million sales land mark for the first time ever. It ended the year with highest ever total sales of 15.7 lakh vehicles sold, a growth of 9.8 percent and includes its highest ever domestic sales of 14.4 lakh vehicles. Where Maruti is stretching the lead versus its competitors is in the utility vehicle segment, thanks to surging sales of the Vitara Brezza.

The compact cars (Swift, Ritz, Celerio, Ignis, Baleno, Dzire) were the biggest contributors to domestic sales at 5,84,850 units, up 7.9 percent year on year. The Baleno, which has crossed 1,50,000 sales in the domestic market, clearly is the star performer in this lot. Sedan Ciaz was also a strong performer. What’s worrying for Maruti is that the Alto and the Wagon R are seeing tepid demand.

Hyundai, which crossed the milestone of five million sales for the first time  sold a total of 5,09,707 in  2016-17, recording a growth of 5.2 percent (2015-16: 4,84,324).

Mahindra & Mahindra, sold a total of 2,36,130 units in 2016-17, to record zero or flat growth (2015-16: 2,36,307). Rajan Wadhera, president, automotive sector, M&M, said, “The auto industry continues to see mixed reactions due to several external challenges and the more recent one being the unexpected verdict on the sale of BS-III vehicles that has derailed many planned operations. Going forward, factors such as the likely softening of interest rates, revision in fuel prices, GST implementation and the Union Budget’s focus on rural are expected to bring back demand.”

Honda reported overall 2016-17 sales of 1,57,313 units, down 22 percent on 2015-16 sales of 1,92,059 units. New models like the 2017 City and the WR-V crossover were major contributors to overall sales. While the City with 6,271 units was the biggest seller, the WR-V with 3,833 units was the next best. However, the carmaker needs its sales to grow faster.

Tata Motors, which is riding a new wave of demand for its passenger vehicles, registered  cumulative sales of 1,53,151 units, a growth of 22 percent (2015-16: 1,25,946). The company says this is due to the continued strong demand for the Tiago hatchback. It has also received an encouraging customer response for its recently launched Hexa SUV and the Tigor.

Toyota  posted a 12 percent growth in sales in 2016-17 on the back of overwhelming response to the Innova Crysta. In just less than a year, the Crysta has sold close to 75,000 units in India. The Camry Hybrid too has been seeing growing sales, reinforcing customer acceptance towards hybrid technology. In the April 2016-February 2017 period, the Camry Hybrid sold 1,146 units.

For the fiscal year, Ford India recorded total sales to the tune of 91,405 units, up 14.33 percent (2015-16: 79,944).

Nissan Motor India  announced total domestic sales of 57,315 units in 2016-17 registering a growth of 45 percent over the previous financial year, and the highest-ever volume achieved by the company in India. According to company president Guillaume Sicard, the carmaker plans to launch eight new products in India by 2021 with an aim to achieve 5 percent market share. It currently has a market share of 1.9 percent within the country’s passenger vehicles segment. AutoCar India

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