Tata motors hit hard as fleet utilisation at all-time low

Written by fe Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: Jan 3 2014, 10:36am hrs
While December sales volumes for most auto players have been little to write home about, Tata Motors has been hit hardest with commercial vehicle (CV) sales crashing 46% year-on-year, reports fe Bureau in New Delhi. Indias largest automaker by revenues, with a 52% market share in the 8-lakh-unit CV market, has been hurt by slowing GDP growth sub 5% in the March and June quarters that has led truckers to delay new purchases as utilisation of existing fleets is at a record low of 60%.

Two-wheeler players didnt fare too well either. While Hero MotoCorps volumes dipped 3% y-o-y, TVS Motors saw a fall of 1%. While companies had stocked up for the festive season in October and November, demand turned out to be lower and consequently, production needed to pared in December. However, Honda Motorcycles and Scooters India (HMSI) reported a 36% y-o-y jump, driven up by a 54% jump in scooter sales. Maruti Suzuki, which posted a 5.5% rise in wholesale sales, said retail sales had touched record levels in December at 1.2 lakh units.

Hyundai, the second-largest domestic carmaker, also saw a 6.2% jump in volumes, though Mahindra reported 28% lower sales in December as demand for diesel-powered utility vehicles slowed down and on the impact of higher excise duties on SUVs as also rising diesel prices.

Meanwhile, passenger vehicle (PV) volumes for Tata Motors too have dropped 35% y-o-y in December in a continuation of the slow decline of the last two years. As a result, Tata Motors' market share in the PV segment was down to 7% in November 2013, from 9% in March 2013.

Analysts said that the fall in Tata Motors' domestic volumes in both CVs and PVs is pretty much in line with expectations.

Internally, Tata Motors is trying very hard to improve market perception of the brand and its products. But all such things usually have a positive impact after about a year. Initially, the aim is to target the low-hanging fruit, like improve volumes for the Nano by expanding the range and making it a more aspirational product, an analyst with a brokerage said.