Year 2010 was a memorable one in the history of the domestic passenger car industry, registering an unprecedented 30% growth. Amit Chhangani analyses the sales of every major carmaker in January 2011 to see if the momentum is going to be carried forward in the year ahead
The auto industry in India entered the year 2011 with a lot of euphoria and enthusiasm. Once could, however, sense a slight hint of caution in the midst of all the festivities, what with the increasing cost of raw materials, soaring fuel prices and increasing car loan rates. Almost every industry leader agreed that it was rather difficult to replicate the incredible 30% growth witnessed in 2010. At the same time, the industry seemed quite convinced that double digit growth wasn’t difficult to achieve.
An analysis of auto sales in the first month of 2011 suggests that the industry has, indeed managed to carry forward the momentum from the past year. The top ten carmakers, taken together have shown a growth of more than 22% over the sales in January 2010.
While domestic sales have been strong for almost all the carmakers, exports have been a concern, especially for the country’s top two carmakers Hyundai and Maruti. In fact Hyundai is the only company among the top ten to register negative growth in the first month of 2011. While domestic sales for the company have gone up by 2%, overseas sales of the country’s largest car exporter have dropped by a whopping 43.5% to 13,010 units in January 2011, from 23,027 units in January 2010. This has resulted in an overall drop of 17.7% for the Korean carmaker.
On the other hand, Maruti Suzuki managed to neutralize its 36% negative growth in exports down to 9321 units from 14562 in January 2010, with strong domestic sales which grew 23.8%. The company managed to post strong numbers overall, showing a growth of 14.73%.
Tata Motors, India’s third largest carmaker also showed double digit growth of 15% over January 2010 in its passenger car business. Nano showed 68% growth, followed by the SUV / UV segment showing a 26% increase. The Indigo series also registered a 17% growth. However, Indica sales dropped by 8%.
Mahindra & Mahindra maintained their fourth position in the passenger car industry and showed an overall growth of 13.8 percent. The company sold 17208 units of cars and UVs, an increase of 2210 units over January 2010 sales. The highlight of the growth was the Logan, the sales of which have witnessed a turnaround after Mahindra took the brand over from Renault. The low-cost sedan saw a growth of more than 100% and is testimony to Mahindra’s marketing skills. Rajesh Jejurikar, Chief Executive at Mahindra’s Auto Division commented “all our brands have done exceptionally well with the Logan having clocked a sale of 1120 units which is the highest during the last 28 months”.
Leapfrogging ahead of its compatriot GM India for the fifth position was Ford India. The Figo has turned the fortunes around for the company. The car swept almost all the auto awards in the country for the year 2010, and registered more than 8600 sales in January 2011 to take the company’s overall numbers to 10,026 units. This is the first time Ford India has managed to cross the 10,000 mark in its entire history in India. The company’s sales grew by an incredible 309% over the same month last year. “We’ve begun 2011 with record-setting January sales. We are constantly fine-tuning our performance for maximum growth, and this is just the beginning of what I anticipate will be an incredible year for the company” said Michael Boneham, the upbeat President and MD at Ford India.
In sixth place, GM India showed a rather restrained growth of 6% at 9984 units. The sales for January 2011 were led by the Beat hatchback at 3345units, followed by the Spark at 3272 units. The Beat hatchback has shown immense promise for the company; however, the lack of a diesel option is not letting it sell to its full potential. Expect a surge in the company’s sales numbers once the diesel version goes on sale in the next couple of months. The company also plans a new product assault at the Indian market with its partner SAIC in the coming times. Expect a close battle between Ford and GM India in the coming months for the fifth position.
Riding high on the success of its Etios sedan in the seventh position is Toyota India. With 9185 sales the company registered a growth of 53% in January 2011, compared to the same period last year when it moved out 5989 units. The Etios sedan which was launched in Dec 2010 witnessed an incredible response with more than 22,000 bookings and 1651 deliveries in January 2011. Commenting on the performance, Mr. Sandeep Singh, Deputy Managing Director-Marketing, TKM said, “It’s been a good beginning to the year. The growth can be attributed to the encouraging sales of the existing models and the overwhelming response received from the Etios.”
With no new products for a very long time, Honda lingers on at eighth position with 6358 sales and 6.3% growth. Not much movement is expected in the brand’s sales before its launches its Brio small car for India.
Completing the list of Top Ten are Volkswagen and Nissan. Both the companies are new entrants in the Indian market, and both have registered monstrous growth when compared to their numbers in January last year. This can primarily be attributed to the fact that both the companies launched their volumes products (Polo and Vento for VW, Micra for Nissan) in 2010. VW India, with 5601 units sold in January 2011 against 383 for the corresponding period in 2010 stands at ninth position. That’s a growth of 1362% for you.
Skoda Auto India stands at tenth position with total sales of 2825 units, registering a growth of 51% over the previous year.
All in all, the auto industry has begun the year 2011 on a very strong note. Maruti is clearly leading the way by posting robust domestic sales and showing growth even with dwindling exports. Hyundai seems to have stumbled a little, but the company has an array of strong products lined up for launch this year. A bounceback is almost a certainty. Tata Motors have also showed good double digit growth with the Nano now selling across India.
If the trends from the first month of 2011 are something to go by, the industry seems to be geared up for a 12-15% growth this year as predicted by the industry experts. Auto market seems to have dealt with growth deterrents such as high commodity prices and spiraling fuel prices rather well. The industry seems set for another year of robust growth.