Most passenger vehicle makers reported an uptick in sales in May, with companies that launched new models in recent months witnessing good acceleration over others.
Maruti Suzuki, India's largest passenger car maker, reported mixed sales figures for May on Thursday, with domestic sales rising close to 16 per cent, but exports seeing a sharp 36 per cent dip.
Driven by strong demand for its recent launches like the Vitara Brezza compact SUV and the Ignis hatchback, the company sold 130,676 units in the domestic market in May, compared with 113,162 units it sold in the year ago month. Maruti Suzuki's growth was largely led by utility vehicle sales, which rose over 66 per cent to 22,608 units.
Passenger cars, on the other hand, saw sales rise nine per cent year-on-year to 95,047 units with sales of its Alto and WagonR mini cars rising 18 per cent and compact cars like the Ignis, Celerio, Baleno and Dzire seeing 10 per cent growth in sales. In contrast, sales of its Ciaz hatchback declined nine per cent to 4,724 units. Exports also dipped to 6,286 units versus 9,872 units in May last year.
In contrast, US car maker Ford saw its exports from India surge 46 per cent to 16,761 units in May from 11,499 units it sold in the same month a year ago. Ford's domestic sales rose near 17 per cent to 6,742 units, versus 5,780 units it sold a year ago.
Meanwhile, utility vehicle maker Mahindra & Mahindra said its total automotive sales rose three per cent to 41,895 units, compared with 40,656 units it sold in May, year ago. While its UV sales rose four per cent, sales of cars and vans were down three per cent.
However, Rajan Wadhera, president, automotive sector at M&M, is more optimistic about the road ahead. “Given the favourable monsoon projections and the focused investment in the rural sector, we have a robust outlook for future, which is expected to spur demand,” he said.
Japanese car maker Honda's local unit reported 13 per cent rise in domestic sales, helped by the new crossover WR-V, and the refreshed City sedan, which have received good market response. The company sold 11,278 units in May, up from 9,954 units, a year ago.
“We continue to receive strong demand for new City and Honda WR-V. The government's plan for timely rollout of GST and better monsoon forecast will aid in sales growth in coming months,” said Yoichiro Ueno, president and CEO of Honda Cars India.
However, its Japanese rival Toyota saw sales dip, with N. Raja, senior vice president, sales and marketing at Toyota Kirloskar, citing ambiguity surrounding the GST that made customers postpone purchase plans.
Toyota Kirloskar's total domestic sales slipped 13 per cent to 10,914 units in May, versus 12,614 units it sold in the same month a year ago. Sales, including exports, were down nine per cent to 12,339 units.
Raja expects the impact to continue until customers have clear understanding of the pricing under GST.