Auto sales on growth track riding on demand for SUVs

Maruti Suzuki India reported a 15 pc rise in total domestic passenger vehicle sales

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Automakers, led by Maruti Suzuki India, Hyundai, Mahindra & Mahindra, Toyota Kirloskar Motor, on Thursday, reported robust wholesales of passenger vehicles in the domestic market in May riding on strong demand for SUVs.

Other manufacturers such as Tata Motors, Kia and MG Motor India also reported increase in their dispatches to dealers during the month.

Market leader Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) reported a 15 per cent rise in total domestic passenger vehicle sales at 1,43,708 units as compared with 1,24,474 units in the same month last year.

The company's sales of mini cars, comprising Alto and S-Presso, fell 30 per cent to 12,236 units as compared with 17,408 units in the year-ago period, while compact cars sales, including models such as Swift, Celerio, Ignis, Baleno and Dzire, increased 5 per cent to 71,419 units as against 67,947 units in May 2022.

On the other hand, utility vehicle sales, including those of Brezza, Grand Vitara and Ertiga, rose 65 per cent to 46,243 units as against 28,051 vehicles in the year-ago month, MSI said.

Sales of mid-sized sedan Ciaz last month increased to 992 units from 586 units in the year-ago period, it added.

Rival Hyundai Motor India Ltd said its domestic sales grew 14.91 per cent at 48,601 units as compared to 42,293 units in the year-ago month.

HMIL COO Tarun Garg said the company's double-digit sales growth in May was fuelled by its SUVs Creta and Venue. The recently launched all-new Verna sedan also received good response, he added.

Tata Motors, however, had a moderate domestic passenger vehicle sales growth at 6 per cent posting 45,878 units last month as compared to 43,341 units in May last year.

Sales of passenger electric vehicles, including international business, were at 5,805 units as against 3,505 units in the same month a year ago, a growth of 66 per cent, the company said in a statement.

Another homegrown automaker Mahindra & Mahindra posted a total passenger vehicle sales of 26,904 units in May 2022.

The company's utility vehicles sales last month were at 32,883 units, as against 26,632 units in the year-ago period, a growth of 23 per cent. Sales of cars and vans were at 3 units as compared to 272 units in May last year.

"We continue our growth trend, backed by strong demand in SUVs," M&M president, automotive division, Veejay Nakra said.

He, however, said, "The sales volume for both SUVs and 'Pik-Ups' were restricted by a short-term disruption in engine-related parts at the supplier-end. The semiconductor supply constraints on specific parts like Air Bag ECU, continued during the month too."

Automaker Kia India said its total wholesales increased 3 per cent to 24,770 units in May. The company undertook a plant maintenance shutdown from May 15-20. It had dispatched 24,079 units to dealers in May 2022.

"Although we faced some production limitations due to our plant annual maintenance shutdown for a week in May, which impacted our numbers, we are confident of strong performance in coming months," Kia India National Head (Sales & Marketing) Hardeep Singh Brar said.

In contrast, Toyota Kirloskar Motor posted its highest-ever sales in a month with a two-fold increase to 20,410 units in May. The automaker had dispatched 10,216 units in the same month last year.

The company said its domestic wholesales last month stood at 19,379 units. It also exported 1,031 units of the Urban Cruiser Hyryder in May.

Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM) vice president of sales and strategic marketing, Atul Sood, said the company believes that the strong upward trajectory, highlights the company's customer alignment and ever-growing product popularity with the latest launches like Urban Cruiser Hyryder, Innova Hycross and the Hilux that continue to support the strong sales momentum in their respective segments.

"As we look forward, given the sustained momentum, we continue to be optimistic for the rest of the year by prioritising the customers' needs," he added.

MG Motor India also reported a 25 per cent rise in retail sales at 5,006 units in May compared to the same month last year. The company had sold 4,008 units in May 2022.

The company said it remains optimistic about growth and meeting the rising customer demand through various ongoing and planned production and operational initiatives.

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