September brought cheer for some passenger car makers in India. Maruti Suzuki, India’s largest car maker, reported a 12 percent rise in total sales last month. Others like Ford India and Honda too saw sales accelerate driven by recent new launches like the Ford Ecosport and Honda Amaze.
Honda’s domestic sales in September jumped 88 percent, while Ford saw total sales surge 51 percent.
But for many others there were no celebrations on cards as the road remained bumpy. Mahindra & Mahindra’s total sales were down 10 percent, as SUV sales remained in the slow lane. India’s second largest car maker Hyundai too saw sales slip 4 percent.
Toyota Kirloskar’s sales gained 10 percent, although domestic sales were marginally down. Another multinational General Motors reported a near 5 percent drop in sales, which can be partly attributed to the temporary stoppage of the production of its Tavera utility vehicle.
Homegrown Tata Motors continues to struggle, with car sales plunging 40 percent. Its CV sales have also remained under pressure, given the continued gloom in the overall economy.
September is typically a month where companies sell or dispatch more cars to their dealers to meet the Dassera and Diwali festive demand. Yet the September sales figures released by companies suggests the overall sentiment still remains weak.
New model launches have indeed helped some car makers boost their sales. But otherwise sales are more or less lackluster. Even in Maruti Suzuki’s case, the 12 percent rise in dispatches last month is mainly due to a surge in exports. Domestic sales were only up 2 percent.
Petrol prices were cut on Monday night, but they still remain high. Also, oil marketing companies have continued to increase diesel prices by 50 paise each month, which coupled with the higher tax on SUVs has hurt demand. Furthermore, with interest rates on loans unlikely to come down any time soon, will customers splurge this festive season is still a big question.