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
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