Leading car makers Maruti Suzuki India and Hyundai Motor India Ltd posted single digit growth in their domestic sales in December but other companies failed to beat the year-end blues.
Reflecting the prolonged slump in the Indian automobile sector, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd, Ford India, Toyota Kirloskar and General Motors India reported decline in domestic sales.
Maruti Suzuki said its domestic sales during December 2013 stood at 86,613 units, up 5.5 per cent from 82,073 units in December of the previous year.
The growth was mainly on account of sales of mini passenger cars, including M800, Alto, A-Star and WagonR, which were up 16.7 per cent at 38,286 units, as against 32,797 units in the year-ago period. Sales of compact sedan Dzire grew by 18 per cent to 15,427 units as against 13,076 units in December 2013, the company added.
However, sales of compact cars comprising Swift, Estilo and Ritz were down 14.7 per cent at 19,171 units as against 22,482 units a year ago.
Hyundai Motor India Ltd reported 6.24 per cent increase in domestic sales at 28,345 units during the month from 26,697 units in December 2012.
HMIL Senior Vice-President, Sales and Marketing, Rakesh Srivastava, said: "Year 2013 was very challenging and rewarding... Manufacturing operated at 99 per cent capacity utilisation and had the fastest 5 million roll-out in India."
Other companies were unable to beat the year-end blues as customers stay away from purchasing new cars in December because the year of the model changes within in a month, impacting the re-sale value.
M&M domestic sales stood at 36,881 units as against 42,307 in the same month previous year, down 12.82 per cent.
"During the first nine months of the current fiscal, the auto industry has seen a negative growth due to sustained deceleration in economic activity and consequent weakness in consumer and business sentiments," M&M Chief Executive (Automotive Division) Pravin Shah said.
While the immediate turnaround in the auto industry is not expected without certain policy corrections and support, the worst seems to be over, he added.
Likewise, Ford India's domestic sales were down 9.9 per cent to 5,871 units in December as against 6,517 units in the same month previous year.
Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM) also reported 11.78 per cent decline in domestic sales at 10,648 units in December, down from 12,071 units in the year-ago period.
"The market sentiments do not seem to be improving. In the last few months, we have made our best efforts to control inventory both at TKM and at our dealers end," TKM Deputy Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer, Marketing and Commercial, Sandeep Singh said.
General Motors India also said its sales in December declined 19.27 per cent at 5,705 units as against 7,067 units sold in December 2012.
GM India Vice President P Balendran said: "The past year has been extremely challenging for the automobile sector as the general economic and consumer sentiments had failed to pick up. Despite providing highest level of discounts during December, footfall in showrooms failed to pick-up."