The slowdown in the automotive market has left manufacturers sweating. Sales failed to pick up even in the months of December last year and this past March, in spite of some truly attractive offers. March is usually a month of high activity; seeing many deliveries taking place on festive occasions as well as on account of the fiscal year-end.
Apart from some manufacturers who have hit new sales high with new models, like Renault with their Duster in the four-wheeler segment, with Yamaha and Honda Motorcycles still seeing green in the two-wheeler segment.
The most significant drops in passenger cars were Tata Motors, which sold a mere 12,347 cars in March ’13 as against 36,984 last March: a whopping 67% less. Ford India was the next to feel the heat with sales dropping to 7,499 compared to the previous year’s 12,150; a 38% decline. General Motors, Hyundai and Honda too witnessed falls in sales, dropping 15%, 13.5% and 9% respectively. Renault, meanwhile, has finally tasted success in numbers, selling 8,232 cars as opposed to just 1,005 cars last March. Mahindra and Toyota fared slightly better with increases of 13% and 7% respectively.
In the two-wheeler segment, Hero MotoCorp sold 468,283 units this March, down from 528,290 last year – an 11% drop. Bajaj sold 301,231 motorcycles, a 10% drop compared to the 335,515 units last year. The other home-grown manufacturer, TVS also saw an 11% fall with sales of 143,239 as opposed to 160,736 units last March. On the upside, Honda Motorcycles & Scooters witnessed a rise of 15% with 252,773 sales in March ’13 against 220,487 last March. They have set a target to become India’s leading two-wheeler manufacturer in the next few years. Yamaha too saw a 20.5% increase, with sales of 35,782 units versus 29,819 last year.
With many more launches planned for this year, there is a hope of resurgence in the automotive industry as manufacturers will try and entice buyers with exciting new models across all price ranges.
Story: Jim Gorde