While two-wheeler sales were brisk and car sales fairly good, volumes of medium and heavy commercial vehicles, a proxy for the economy, were poor in May. Ashok Leyland reported a steep 18 per cent year-on-year decline in M&HVC volumes, suggesting the economy remains sluggish and that fleet owners are in no hurry to buy trucks ahead of the roll-out of the goods and services tax and a shortage of components for BS IV engines. Ashok Leyland commands a 37 per cent share of the M&HV market with Tata Motors having nearly 50 per cent.
While market leader Maruti Suzuki drummed up good business, posting a 15 per cent rise in volumes, Hyundai had a poor month.
Motorcycle manufacturers did fairly well, an indication the rural markets may be looking up.
April had not been a good month given that in March, the ban on BS III vehicles had compelled some manufacturers to get rid of stocks at huge discounts.
Honda Motorcycles, in particular, reported a smart 23 per cent jump in volumes in May.
Maruti’s premium models clocked in good numbers and the small or mini car segment too fared well. The carmaker is tipped to emerge the biggest beneficiary of impending demand recovery, given its presence across segments.
The country’s second largest carmaker Hyundai has had a poor summer so far — wholesale volumes rose under 2 per cent year-on-year, hampered by capacity constraints at its plant in Chennai and few new models. Honda reported a 13.3 per cent YoY increase on a low base. Ford Motor also reported a rise in wholesale dispatches, up 16.6 per cent on an annualised basis but Toyota reported a 13.4 per cent decline in volumes. The heightened competition in the utility vehicle space saw Mahindra and Mahindra’s volumes stay muted, up just 3 per cent YoY to 20,290 units. FE