Much like they did in November, automakers in general bounced back from the demonetisation blues a year ago to clock in some reasonably good wholesale numbers in December. However, the performances within segments were mixed with some players doing brisk business, while others lagged behind. TVS Motor turned in splendid volumes — up 38 per cent y-o-y — as exports of two wheelers surged 53 per cent y-o-y.
In the passenger vehicles (PVs) space, Maruti Suzuki and Honda Cars reported strong numbers compared with Hyundai Motors, whose sales were flat and Mahindra and Mahindra (M&M) which saw a seven per cent year-on-year drop in volumes.
Nonetheless, there appears to be a fair amount of underlying demand, prompting analysts to say retail sales for December could be fairly good. Among the factors fuelling demand is dealer discounts — aimed at clearing inventories.
Moreover, sales may have been driven by purchases in the wedding season, analysts said. However, they also pointed out that some buyers would probably wait for January rather than owning a dated model, especially since excise duties are now fixed under GST and unlike in past years will not change in February or March.
Market leader Maruti Suzuki did well to report double-digit growth once again in December after a smart 14 per cent year-on-year increase in sales in November. The Japanese car maker, which has had a good run this year, averaging a 15.5 per cent year-on-year growth between April and December 2017, fared well both in the car segment — Baleno and the new DZire — as also the utility vehicles segment.
However, Korean carmaker Hyundai reported a muted growth of 0.3 per cent during December with domestic volumes of 40,158 units. Sales have been dragged down by capacity constraints, which the company is now looking to address. In 2017, the company has reported a domestic sales growth of 5.4 per cent.
Utility vehicle maker M&M’s volumes of PVs in December fell 7 per cent to 14,514 units, despite the low base. Analysts feel the slowdown is largely due to the lack of new models at a time when the competition is rolling out many more products. Honda Cars reported a strong 26 per cent y-o-y growth during December, riding on the excellent response to its resurrected model Jazz, the compact SUV, WR-V and the strong on loyalty sedan, City. FE