The News International Team
In line with trends seen in the broader economy, the Indian auto sector appears to be turning up, with domestic passenger vehicle sales turning up to 2.09 lakh units in August, compared to 1.94 lakh in the previous month and 1.8 lakh in August last year.
According to data released by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers, the country’s top carmakers such as Maruti Suzuki , Hyundai and Honda made the most of the upturn, capturing a greater pie of the sales chart.
In year-on-year movers, Honda’s sales increased about 89 percent to 16,758 units, neatly consolidating its number-three position that it occupied in June this year after overtaking Mahindra & Mahindra.
This was thanks to the launch of the Mobilio MUV, which in its second month, notched up sales of over 5,000 units, as also to Amaze compact sedan, which sold over 9,000 units, the most over the past 12 months.
Honda’s gains came at the hands of, among others, Chevrolet (sales down 36.5 percent year-on-year), whose Beat and Enjoy, have been on a slow descent during the same period.
Other winners include Maruti and Hyundai while Volkswagen, Ford, Renault and M&M (which relies heavily on economically-sensitive utility vehicles) saw double-digit losses in sales in percentage terms.
Maruti’s market share climbed to 47.03 percent, the highest over the past 12 months, while Hyundai too improved its share to 16.15 percent.
Segments that sold the most vehicles in August were the premium hatchback, compact sedan, which recently saw the launch of two new vehicles, compact hatch and city hatch.
In the premium hatch segment, the Maruti Swift continues to score well, notching slightly less than half the segment’s sales (17,716 units). Hyundai’s Elite i20, which replaced the earlier-generation i20 during the month, has become an instant hit, notching sales of 6,627. While the Ritz, with 4,586 units sold, continues to remain a force to reckon with.
The action meanwhile is heating up in the compact sedan, which now has four successful players (Tata Zest and Hyundai Xcent being new players), a segment that singularly ruled by the DZire till a few years ago (Honda Amaze being another player).
The feature-rich Zest is off to a decent start and much would depend on it to turn around Tata Motors ’ fortunes in the domestic market. The Amaze and Xcent continue to do very well but their sales appear to have no impact on the segment leader DZire and it appears the new players have only expanded the sales pie rather than eating from the DZire’s.
In the compact hatch segment, the Wagon R continues to clock robust sales, while the Grand i10 and Maruti Celerio (which features a semi-automatic gearbox) also remain steady sellers.
While in the city hatch segment, it is the Alto that remains the undisputed leader. Its Hyundai rival, Eon, too notches up impressive sales while the recently-launched Datsun Go appears to be losing its way, dropping to below 1,000 units for the second straight month. The fortunes of the Nano continue to plummet despite Tata’s many efforts recently to give it a new lease of life.