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September India auto sales rise 4.7%; MM back in 3rd place

Nazim Khan
moneycontrol.com

Providing further corroboration that the auto industry is benefiting from early signs on an economic revival, domestic passenger vehicle sales for the auto industry as a whole rose 4.68 percent to 2.18 lakh units in September (from 2.06 lakh in the same month last year).

This was the third straight month of increases for the industry as a whole, according to data released by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers.

Within companies, Asian firms ( Maruti Suzuki , Hyundai, Honda and Nissan) continued their strong showing in the Indian market while American and European companies (Chevrolet, Ford, Renault, Volkswagen and Fiat) witnessed their market share come off, compared to a year ago.

While leaders Maruti and Hyundai continue to launch one successful product after another, Honda’s successful re-launch of the City (with a first-time diesel-engine option for a Honda car) this year has helped the company increase its sales dramatically compared to last year.

In terms of domestic market share, Maruti remained the clear leader at 45.71 percent, while Korean firm Hyundai remains firmly ensconced in the second place at 16.02 percent. However, utility vehicles maker Mahindra (8.76 percent) has reclaimed the third-place spot that it had conceded to Honda (6.86) three months ago.

The list of the top-10 selling cars is dominated by Maruti (six models) and Hyundai (three), with the only vehicle not belonging to these two companies being Mahindra’s Bolero. The city hatch, Alto, is back in the first place, overtaking the Dzire that topped last month.

Segment-wise analysis:

City hatch: Maruti Suzuki Alto remains the clear leader, notching up close to 20,000 sales while Hyundai Eon is a firm but distant second. The Datsun Go appears to have lost its way after a distant start while the Tata Nano continues to sell in fits and starts.

Compact hatch: The Wagon R remains the clear leader here and the Grand i10, which till recently threatened to become the segment leader, has lost some steam. The semi-automatic Celerio has also achieved blockbuster status, consistently notching more than 5,000 unit sales for a few months now. The workhorse Santro continues to sell well despite its age (and despite some reports saying it would be phased out soon). But sales of the Beat have fallen by more than half over the period of a year.

Premium hatch: The action is heating up in this segment, with the Elite i20 (which replaced the earlier i20 variant in July) witnessing increasingly high buying interest even as the Swift continues to rule the roost here. The i20’s gains appear to have come at the cost of the Ritz, another steady seller since a few years. (Note: Cars selling below 1,000 units – Skoda Fabia, Renault Pulse, Chevrolet U-VA, Fiat Punto — have not been included in the chart below).

Compact sedan: In the fast-selling compact sedan segment, the Dzire remains the clear leader, while recent launches Hyundai Xcent and Tata Zest continue to notch up respectable sales. The Honda Amaze appears to have taken a bit on the chin due to the new entrants.

Midsize sedan: After what appears to be a production blip last month, the fourth-generation Honda City launched earlier this year is back to rule the charts — selling close to 5,000 units — at the cost of rival Hyundai Verna. Analysts will however look forward keenly to the fortunes of Maruti Ciaz, which sold 1,375 units (to dealers) and is the market leader’s third – and most serious — attempt at cracking this segment, after the Baleno and SX4. (Note: Cars selling less than 1000 units — Ford Fiesta, Nissan Sunny, Chevrolet SAIL, Fiat Linea, Mahindra Verito, Renault Scala — have not been included in the chart below.)

Utility vehicles: The segment has long been dominated by the Bolero even as Ertiga and Innova, too, have been selling about 5,000 units. The latest entrant, Mobilio, is off to a robust start as well. (Sales of Gypsy, Enjoy, Quanto, Evalia and Thar have not been included in the chart below)

Compact SUV: The Ecosport continues to maintain a decent lead over the Duster while the Terrano remains a distant third.

SUV: The facelifted Scorpio is back at the top of chart in this segment overtaking sibling XUV 500. The Safari Storme continues to struggle.

In overall body-wise sales distribution, nearly every one in two cars sold in India is a hatchback while sedans and MUVs have an about 20 percent market share each.

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