Maruti Owns One Half of the Auto Mar­ket

Car­maker widened lead over ri­vals with 8 of its cars fea­tur­ing in the top 10 even as 7 of the top 9 firms posted strong dou­ble-digit sales growth in Jan Ac­counts for over 50% share in Jan car sales

The Economic Times - - Brands: Creating Desire - Sharmistha.M@ times­

New Delhi: Maruti Suzuki ac­counted for one in ev­ery two pas­sen­ger ve­hi­cles sold in In­dia in Jan­uary, achiev­ing the feat for the sec­ond time this fis­cal year as the automaker fur­ther con­sol­i­dates its po­si­tion at the top of the lo­cal mar­ket.

Rid­ing high on the suc­cess of pre­mium hatch­back Baleno and compact SUV Vi­tara Brezza, the lo­cal unit of Ja­pan’s Suzuki Mo­tor made 50.4% of all cars, util­ity ve­hi­cles and vans sold in In­dia the past month. The com­pany’s mar­ket share was 45.9% a year ear­lier, while its all-time high was 52%, recorded in Novem­ber 2016.

The num­bers are of dispatches from fac­to­ries to deal­er­ships — au­tomak­ers in In­dia don’t re­port re­tail sales. With the cash crunch post de­mon­eti­sa­tion eas­ing and cus­tomers re­turn­ing to deal­er­ships, Maruti sent more cars to the deal­ers in the past month. As many as eight of the 10 top-sell­ing mod­els in the coun­try had the Maruti Suzuki tag on them in Jan­uary.

Maruti’ssalesrose­n­early26%in­Jan­uary. It out­paced in­dus­try pas­sen­ger ve­hi­cle sales growth of 14.5%, which was the fastest in four months.

Man­u­fac­tur­ers sold more than 2.65 lakh pas­sen­ger ve­hi­cles in Jan­uary, ac­cord­ing to sales num­bers re­leased by au­tomak­ers and in­dus­try es­ti­mates. The com­par­i­son got a lit­tle help from the low base from the year-ear­lier month, when the in­dus­try was reel­ing un­der a court-im­posed ban on large diesel-pow­ered ve­hi­cles in the Na­tional Cap­i­tal Re­gion.

Jan­uary be­ing the first month of the year, car­mak­ers con­ven­tion­ally take to re­plen­ish­ing their stocks, in­flat­ing their num­bers for the month. But ve­hi­cle mak­ers ET spoke to as­serted that the re­tail sales too were healthy last month with most mar­kets com­ing back to nor­malcy af­ter the over­hang of de­mon­eti­sa­tion.

At Maruti, ex­cept for compact sedan, sales rose in each of the mar­ket seg­ments in which it has a pres­ence. In the util­ity ve­hi­cle seg­ment, Maruti’s vol­ume dou­bled, thanks to strong de­mand for the Brezza. Korean auto ma­jor Hyundai — the only other car­maker to have fea­tured on the top 10 list, with two mo- dels — posted growth of 10.5% in the past month, sell­ing 42,017 units, and ex­pects the mo­men­tum to con­tinue over the next few month. “Year 2017 looks promis­ing with the en­tire in­dus­try op­ti­misti­cally look­ing for­ward for pos­i­tive growth... The Union Bud­get will give boost to the econ­omy, es­pe­cially ru­ral, with fo­cus on in­fra­struc­ture cre­at­ing a ro­bust busi­ness en­vi­ron­ment,” the sales and mar­ket­ing head at its In­dia unit, Rakesh Sri­vas­tava, said.

Seven out of top nine car­mak­ers that re­ported sales for Jan­uary posted strong dou­ble-digit growth, with the ex­cep­tion of Mahin­dra & Mahin­dra and Honda Cars In­dia, which reg­is­tered a de­cline of around 9% each. VG Ra­makr­ish­nan, man­ag­ing part­ner at con­sul­tancy firm Avan­teum Ad­vi­sors LLP, cred­ited new prod­uct launches for Maruti’s per­for­mance.

“In the last cou­ple of months, the com­pany has launched three prod­ucts suc­cess­fully. That eight of the coun­try’s top 10 mod­els are from Maruti Suzuki’s prod­uct portfolio it­self stands tes­ti­mony to their mar­ket share dur­ing the month,” he said. “The com­pany has al­ways got right its prod­uct po­si­tion­ing and pric­ing. They have a phe­nom­e­nal brand ap­peal. There is no­body who can beat them in the near fu­ture.” But Ra­makr­ish­nan added that the com­pany may see com­pe­ti­tion stiffen once Ko­ran Kia and Ja­panese Dai­hatsu en­ter the In­dian mar­ket, even though Maruti will still be well pre­pared to ad­dress the chal­lenge.

Puneet Gupta, as­so­ciate di­rec­tor at IHS Au­to­mo­tive, said Maruti’s at­tempts to rein­vent it­self helped the com­pany stay ahead of ri­vals.

14.5% Top-10 Mod­els 52% of the 10 topselling mod­els in In­dia was from the Maruti sta­ble, while the other two be­longed to the sec­ond largest car­maker Hyundai Mo­tor In­dia

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