Producers expect the environment to remain sluggish

Challenging market conditions due to a slump in demand has taken a toll on major auto manufacturers such as Hyundai Motor, Honda Cars, General Motors, Ford and Tata Motors, which posted a decline in sales in March. They expect the environment to remain sluggish.

“The slowdown of economy is impacting vehicle sales. Against large base of last year, there was a sharp drop in conversion of enquiries in the absence of any positive stimulus and sentiments,” Hyundai Motor India Ltd. (HMIL) Vice-President (Sales and Marketing) Rakesh Srivastava said. The company foresaw pressure on volumes to continue till there was significant improvement in macro-economic factors, he added.

HMIL saw a decline of 13.46 per cent in domestic sales at 33,858 units against 39,122 units in the year-ago period.

Tata Motors’ total passenger vehicle sales stood at 12,347 units, down 66.62 per cent from 36,984 units in March 2012.

General Motors India reported a 14.94 per cent decline in its sales at 9,006 units, while Honda Cars India domestic sales were down 8.82 per cent at 10,044 units.

“Despite offering various schemes, the showroom traffic has come down drastically, and enquiry conversions are also not taking place. The market sentiment continues to remain subdued due to poor economic conditions and various other factors,” GM India Vice-President P. Balendran said. High interest rates, high fuel prices and political uncertainties had impacted the sales of automobile manufacturers, he said, adding, “We are not expecting any improvement in the short-term, but there can be some movement during the festival season, which is also possible only if the interest rate comes down and economic situation improves in the coming months.”

Ford India’s domestic sales went down by 41.61 per cent to 5,271 units in March this year from 9,028 units in the same month last year.

Ford India Executive Director (Marketing, Sales and Service) Vinay Piparsania said, “We see the current downturn as cyclical, and we expect stronger sales growth in the future.” However, Mahindra & Mahindra’s total sales of passenger vehicles stood at 25,847 units, an increase of 12.57 per cent. Toyota Kirloskar Motor reported a 6.76 per cent rise in domestic car sales at 19,452 units in March 2013. Company’s Deputy Managing Director and COO (Marketing and Commercial) Sandeep Singh said, “Despite the slow demand in market, we have registered a growth. This growth can be mainly attributed to high customer acceptance of the new models of Etios and Etios Liva, launched recently.”

“The market continues to be slow, and is expected to remain sluggish in the coming months,” he added.

Renault India reported an over eight-fold jump in sales in March this year at 8,232 units as against 1,005 vehicles during March 2012.

Two-wheelers

On the two-wheeler front, Hero MotoCorp reported a fall of 11.36 per cent in its total sales at 4,68,283 units in March 2013. It had sold 5,28,290 units in March 2012.

“Indian auto industry faced acute slowdown in FY’13. It continues to reel under the adversities of persistent inflation, firm interest rates, rising fuel prices and negative consumer sentiment,” Hero MotoCorp Senior Vice-President (Marketing and Sales) Anil Dua said. All these factors have adversely impacted the growth of the industry and the company’s sales volumes, he added.

However, Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India (HMSI) reported a 14.64 per cent growth in its total sales for March 2013 at 2,52,773 units.

TVS Motor Company’s sales of two-wheelers in the domestic market declined by 10.89 per cent to 1,43,239 units in March 2013.

India Yamaha Motor registered a rise of 20 per cent in its domestic sales at 35,782 units against 29,819 units in the year-ago period.

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