December offers fail to cheer auto cos as sales fall up to 50%

Written by fe Bureau | Mumbai | Updated: Jan 2 2013, 05:33am hrs
In a year marked by high interest rates, surging fuel prices and a slowdown in economic growth, major auto companies, including Hyundai Motor India, General Motors, Toyota Kirloskar Motor and Tata Motors, saw passenger car sales fall in the range of 10-50% in December.

Tata Motors passenger vehicles sales fell over 50% in December 2012 to 14,185 units compared with 28,916 units a year ago. Sales of the Nano, Indica and Indigo combined were 11,257 units while that of the Sumo, Safari, Aria and Venture together were 2,928 units.The company did not provide a further break-up of the sales figures.

While Maruti Suzuki did not announce sales numbers till late evening, Hyundai Motor India saw its domestic car sales fall by 10% to 26,697 units in December 2012 against 29,516 units in the corresponding month last year.

Toyota Kirloskar Motors domestic car sales fell 24% for December. It sold 12,071 units in December 2012 compared with 15,948 units in the corresponding month in 2011.

GM India, on the other hand, saw its domestic car sales decline by 22% to 7,067 units in December, 2012 over 9,039 units sold in the same month of 2011. In a statement, GM said the fall was despite it running offers on sales.

The market continues to remain depressed on account of various negative factors, including high interest rates and poor economic conditions, said P Balendran, vice-president, GM India.

Automobile makers are now pinning hope on the forthcoming Union Budget for some corrective measures to improve the economic environment. The only hope now is on Union Budget. We hope it to address some of the concerns of the industry and announce some positive measures to bolster the economic recovery, Balendran said.

Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) registered an 18% growth domestically in its passenger vehicles segment (which includes the UVs and Verito) to 22,761 units in December, against 19,341 units during December 2011. It saw a flat growth in the sale of its commercial vehicles in the domestic market to 13,706 units in December over 13,757 units sold in December 2011. Mahindra Navistar Automotives saw a de-growth of 40% in its sales for December to 631 units, over 1,049 units sold in the same month last year.

Tata Motors sales of commercial vehicles in December 2012 in the domestic market were 47,515 units. Light commercial vehicle (LCV) sales were 37,649 units, while medium & heavy commercial vehicles (M&HCV) sales stood at 9,866 units.

Eicher-branded trucks and buses have recorded sales of 4,032 units in December 2012, which is 20% lower than December 2011 sales.

Pravin Shah, CEO, automotive division, M&M, said, High interest rates, rising fuel prices and an overall slowdown in economic growth kept consumer sentiment low during 2012. This is also evident in the auto industry sales performance for December, which traditionally has been a lean month.

At M&M, we are happy to maintain our growth momentum even during these challenging times, said Shah. We do hope that corrective measures are announced and implemented soon bringing in the much needed buoyancy and growth for the industry.

Honda Cars India (HCIL) grew nearly four-fold in sales for December 2012 to 4,242 units from 1,072 units in the same month previous year. During the month, HCIL sold 1,442 units of its flagship sedan City and 2,286 units of its small car Brio. It also sold 365 units of the premium hatchback Jazz and 70 units of sedan Civic. It sold 79 units of the premium sedan Accord in December 2012.

Meanwhile, Mercedes-Benz India in a statement said it has sold 7,138 units of cars as wholesale, which is the cars sold by manufacturer to its dealer partners, for the period from January-December, 2012. It said the M-Class SUV and B-Class Sports Tourer category are booked until May-2013 and until February-2013, respectively.

Eberhard Kern, MD and CEO, Mercedes-Benz India, said, Our sales performance has been overall in line with expectations. At the same time we have managed to retain our profitability and premium in 2012.

Renault India sold 5,924 units in December. Compared with this year, the company had registered 1,401 units last year between June and December 2011 when it offered only the Fluence and the Koleos to its customers.

US car maker Ford has registered a 42% growth on its total sales in December 2012 to 10,899 units from 7,663 units sold in the same month of 2011.

Bike sales

Hero MotoCorp (HMCL) said the company sold 541,615 units in the month of December against 540,276 units in the corresponding month last year. Anil Dua, senior vice-president (marketing & sales), Hero MotoCorp, said, December, being the last month, usually witnesses sluggish retails as customers tend to postpone their purchases to the new year. Despite that, we have been able to despatch over five lakh two-wheelers during the month. Meanwhile, TVS Motor recorded a drop in total sales to 156,221 units in December against 1,70,428 units registered in December 2011.