Auto sales closed December on a high with the country's largest car manufacturer Maruti Suzuki beating estimates to post a 13.5% year-on-year sales growth in the domestic market on the back of robust performance of its compact, super compact and utility segments, reports fe Bureau in Mumbai. Even the second largest manufacturer, Hyundai Motor, posted sales growth of 28.8% due to the strong showing by its new launches Grand i10, Elite i20 and Creta. However, hit by an interim ban by the National Green Tribunal's ban on registration of new diesel vehicles in Delhi, Mahindra and Mahindra suffered a setback with only a 1% increase in sales of its passenger vehicles.
Tata Motors was the only company that took a big hit, suffering a massive 33% decline in sales. This is perhaps because the company does not have a line of new products in passenger cars.
While new launches and discounts which have been driving sales of auto firms continued to be the factor behind strong December sales, an added factor was that almost all the companies have announced price hikes from January.
The month saw Maruti's sales in the mini segment comprising Alto and WagonR rising 7.5%, that in the compact segment which consists of the Swift, Ritz, Celerio, Baleno and Dzire up 14%, and utility vehicles (S-Cross, Ertiga) jumping by 58.8%.
According to Vinay Raghunath, partner, automotive practice, EY India, automakers would continue to identify profitable niches and introduce exciting new models, offer improved customer experience, invest in localisation, and create flexible production capacity and supply chains to be able to quickly respond to changes in the demand mix.