September's been good for automakers with the upcoming festive season promising to lift the gloomy overhang of the past several months.
A strong order book for the upcoming festive period has prompted most of India’s 14 passenger vehicle makers to crank up supplies to their dealers in September, leading to a year-high growth of 32 percent during the month.
Following the lifting of lockdown restrictions that were in place to check the spread of the Covid pandemic, car and SUV makers sold 293,100 units in wholesales during September compared to 234,100 units sold in the same month last year.
Though this is the highest growth in any month so far this year, dealers tend to stock up in the run up to the festive period which starts just after the middle of October. August had seen the first double-digit growth of the year, coming just five months after the industry recorded its first-ever zero sales in a month.
Hyundai Motor India posted a slightly lower growth than the industry at 24 percent with sales of 50,313 units as against 40,705 units sold in the same month last year. New Creta, Venue and Nios generated demand for the Korean brand.
“In the changing business environment, the green shoots of recovery are clearly visible with sales improving on a month-on-month as well as year on year basis," Hyundai Motor India's Director (Sales, Marketing & Service) Tarun Garg said in a statement.
Following its policy of not disclosing monthly numbers, Tata Motors did not announce sales for September. But market sources indicated that September saw the Mumbai-based company’s sales cross the 20,000 mark for the first time in many months, thereby further cementing its position in the third place. Tata Motors is believed to have clocked sales of 21,200 units in September, up 162 percent from 8,097 units sold in the same month last year.
Basis just two models – Sonet and Seltos - Kia Motors retained the fourth spot, clocking sales of 18,676 units, a growth of 147 percent during September as against 7754 units sold in the same month last year. Kia also sells the luxury van Carnival in small numbers.
This is also Kia’s highest-ever monthly sales since it drove into the country a year ago. The Sonet has clocked bookings of more than 35,000 till date. Kookhyun Shim, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Kia Motors India, said, “The Indian auto market is recovering at a better-than-expected pace and we are progressing as per our defined plan”.Home-grown SUV specialist Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) unveiled the renewed Thar during August and has been building up production volumes since then. Among the top five manufacturers, M&M recorded the lowest volume growth of just 4 percent at 14,857 units during September.
Even companies with a much smaller share such as Skoda benefited from the demand revival. The Czech brand clocked a growth of 7 percent during September, selling 1,328 units.
Speaking to Moneycontrol, Zac Hollis, brand director, Skoda Auto India, said, “We have pending booking orders of 1,500 units mostly for the Rapid. We have not seen this kind of a demand since 2018.”Despite the launch of its new model Urban Cruiser, Toyota’s volumes slumped 20 percent during September. The Bengaluru-based maker of Innova and Fortuner sold 8,116 units during September, much lower than 10,203 units sold in the same month last year.