The PV segment grew 9% in the previous fiscal.
The launch of various new models, especially in the fast growing SUV space, along with a recovering rural economy, helped automobile sales in financial year 2018 beat the goods and services tax (GST) blues. Sales of passenger vehicles (PV) rose by about 11% in the fiscal, if we consider volumes reported by the top six car makers in the country that together account for more than 90% of the market. The PV segment grew 9% in the previous fiscal.
The transition to GST had created uncertainties in the market, and people remained unsure of the impact on car prices. This led to a slowdown in sales in June last year, down by 11%. However, sales bounced back soon after in July and managed to remain robust till the end of the year.
Maruti Suzuki registered a 15% growth in volumes to 16,53,500 units in the financial year 2017-2018, which was a record high for the company. The growth came from healthy demand for its compact SUV Vitara Brezza and cars in its compact segment, including the new Dzire, Swift and the premium hatchback Baleno.
Korean auto major Hyundai Motor’s Indian arm also notched record sales of 5,36,241 units, up 5%, in the fiscal.
Mahindra and Mahindra said its passenger vehicle sales grew by 5% in the year. While the company had lost the top spot in the utility vehicle space to Maruti Suzuki earlier in the year, it regained the number one spot in the segment in the fourth quarter.
Rajan Wadhera, president – Automotive Sector, M&M, talking about its ongoing efforts to stay at the top in the UV space in India said, “Our focused rural strategy has led to increased network reach and penetration in rural and upcountry markets and brought us 12% overall growth in such markets. Additionally, our focus on digital has led to a strong 8% sales contribution for key UV brands coming from online leads.” M&M sold 67,805 units in the UV space in the fourth quarter of the financial year, while Maruti Suzuki sold 63,781 units.
Toyota on the other hand, reported a 2% decline in its sales in the financial year, mostly due to a fall in the sale of its Etios sedan. The company sold 1,40,645 units in the fiscal year, compared to 1,43,364 units sold in the previous fiscal.
Commercial vehicle sales were robust with a healthy 20% plus growth for both Tata Motors and Ashok Leyland. This was despite sales remaining weak in the first quarter of the fiscal, as the industry was impacted by the BS III ban and the uncertainty ahead of the implementation of the GST. According to analysts, overloading restrictions on trucks in some states and an increase in infrastructure and mining activity in the country has led to robust sales in the year.
The e-commerce boom has further led to an increase in sale of small and medium commercial vehicles in the country.
In the two-wheeler segment, all players reported strong growth in volumes in the year, save for Bajaj Auto, which saw its sales decline 1%. Sales were robust for two-wheeler makers due to good monsoons in the year, along with better crop realisations and farm loan waivers. Hero Motocorp reported its best ever volumes in a year at 75,87,130 units, a growth of 14%. Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India said its sales grew by 22% to 57,75,243 units, thanks to a variety of new motorcycle and scooter launches in the fiscal.