High Points on the October 2011 Sales:
- Not too many crackers & diyas for the auto industry last month. The Diwali & Dusshera holidays usually lead to a big spike in auto sales, with most customers actually planning their car delivery around these two auspicious occasions. Unfortunately, the weak market sentiment, high interest rates and stratospheric petrol prices resulted in a damp holiday season. It's sad that there are no signs of improvement in the near future either.
- The long-drawn strikes hit Maruti the hardest in October...the company's sales were down 50+% (year on year). The Alto hit a new low, at a mere 15,000 units sold (usually closes the month at anywhere between 20 - 30K sales). The Ritz, WagonR & SX4 - regular strong movers - also suffered a drastic decline in volume. Kudos to Maruti for somehow managing to deliver nearly 8,000 Swifts though. Even Dzire deliveries were reasonably managed at the ~5,000 mark. Maruti's market share for the last month was the lowest in a long time, and even though labour problems (hopefully) are behind it, regaining lost market share points will not be easy. We must also spare a thought for Maruti's vendors who are far smaller in size and have suffered greatly in these trying times. Some competitors recorded a marginal spike in sales (i10, Vista, Figo etc.); a part of this could be attributed to Marutis being unavailable at showrooms.
- Hyundai had some unpredictable hits & misses in October. Take the i10 for instance, it's performance is surprisingly back to the pre-petrol-hike
days at a strong 11.5 thousand shipments. Possibly, the number includes a lot of Maruti converts. The premium i20 maintained its 2011 monthly average, and closed October @ 6,800. The fluidic
Verna also maintained a comfortable lead over the City & Vento, retaining the title of the best selling upper C segment sedan. On the other hand, the Santro dropped to an all-time low of a mere 3,100 units. Take it as the Eon effect; whether Hyundai adjusted production in favour of the Eon (unlikely) or customers cross-shopped in favour of the new hatch is unknown. After the petrol price hike in June 2011, Hyundai's total sales had dipped to the ~25,000 level. The Eon takes Hyundai back to 30,000+ (35K in September, and 33K in October). It will be interesting to see how the Eon gains traction in the entry-level hatchback segment. Santa Fe imports & deliveries appear to have become strong in the August-September period.
- Tata's passenger car sales improved 3% over October 2010. While Nano numbers have gone up, 3,800 is still nothing for a ~2 lakh rupee car in India. Tata simply hasn't marketed the car well enough. The Indica / Vista & Indigo CS / Manza continue their respectable performance for the 2nd month in a row. The Indica sisters - especially - clocked over 10,000 units, while the Indigo / Manza together occupy the best selling sedan category. The Sumo / Grande is slowly inching back to the 2.5K level it was previously used to, recording a sales increase for the 4th month in a row. Not much happening for the Safari though, and even the Aria isn't able to sustain the 500+ point it managed last month with the cheaper 4x2's introduction. The sheer value of the XUV500 will inevitably put Aria buyers in a fix.
- Someone forgot to tell the Bolero that market conditions aren't favourable. India's favourite UV has yet another outstanding month with over 8,000 copies sold! The Scorpio also has a good run, nearly touching the 4,200 mark, while the Xylo continues its mediocre performance at 2,431. XUV500 deliveries gaining traction and should cross 2,000 soon. Remember that Mahindra's new premium SUV is sold out for 4 months.
- The Beat diesel climbs up impressively, becoming the first Chevy to record 5,000+ sales (for 3 of the last 4 months). On the other hand, the Spark inexplicably records another sub-2K month. The li'l Spark is a very competent hatchback and has some great discounts on offer. Except for the General giving production preference to the Beat, I can't think of any other reason for the Spark's fall as it was a consistent 3,000 - 3,300 performer. The Cruze overtakes the Corolla once again, but the Optra, Aveo & UVA continue as market duds. The Captiva also appears to be fast losing favour with 20 lakh rupee SUV customers.
- Riding high on the Liva & Etios, Toyota is one of the rare manufacturers to record a whopping 63% growth year-on-year. The Etios, unsurprisingly, outsold the Liva. Remember that the Etios has to fend off lesser competition than its hatchback sibling. The Innova, Corolla & Fortuner have had a good - not excellent
- month. Prado CBU imports see a noticeable rise.
- The Figo has amongst its best month in 6. Ford's heavily cashing in on the excellent 1.4 TDCi engine, I doubt there are too many people buying the 1.2 petrol. The ol' Fiesta, who sales have shot up after the new generation's launch, has a decent month @ 1,549 cars. The overpriced 2011 Fiesta performs as expected and is a market failure in only its 4 month of launch. Will Ford swallow a bitter pill & reposition the car? There really is no other way out to correct this strategical error.
- The all-rounded Vento overtakes the Honda City again, but only just @ 3,474 dealer dispatches. Slight improvement with the Polo too, which ended October with a score of 3,340. The new Jetta has given VW the volumes it expected and does 373 cars (the previous-gen Jetta fared much poorer in comparison). However, the Passat simply cannot touch the Superb in the premium sedan space.
- Honda has 6,000 Brio bookings and a long waiting period for the Jazz (IIRC, backlog of 4,000). However, Honda isn't able to maximise the opportunity that it's well-priced new hatchback brings. Reason? The Thailand floods. Only 1,220 Brios were shipped in October, and the price-cut Jazz shows no real improvement from its overpriced days (463 units). The City continues as Honda's star performer bringing in a score of 3,376. The Civic remains a market dud, while the Accord stays within a 20% reach of the Skoda Superb (the segment king). Keeping in mind that the Accord lacks a diesel engine, this isn't too bad.
- The Nissan Sunny has a great entry-price point and finds 1,340 new homes in October. I expect it to settle at around the 1,500 mark; after the diesel arrives, the Sunny should easily cross 2,000 in the first quarter of 2012. The Micra has its best performance in 6 months @ 1,619 units.
- After two poor months, Skoda has a relatively better diwali season. The Fabia is back at the 1,400 level (albeit no match for sister company's Polo), and the Laura @ 406 outsells both, the Jetta & the Civic. The Yeti, with its small unappealing design, simply fails to find any takers @ merely 103 sales. The Superb continues to be the best selling luxury car in its class.
- Rounding up the rear are HM-Mitsubishi (all cars tanking, save for the Pajero that brings in some $$$) and Fiat (Punto recording its lowest ever sales). I understand that Fiat has problems, but still, things are that
bad that the cars should only sell 622 units. When things get tough, the weakest are the first to lose, I guess.