The impact of demonetisation was felt in the months of November and December 2016 but the car buying sentiment is up and going since the beginning of 2017. Car makers sold 2,65,320 cars sold in January which was about 14 per cent more as compared to the sales in January 2016. In February 2017, car makers managed to sell 2,56,342 cars, about 9.5 per cent more than the sales in February 2016. As you see, the car sales in February are lower as compared to January but it is a seasonal trend that has been seen over years and nothing to worry about.
The stars of the revival story are obviously the new breed of cars that have slowly begun to redefine the way Indians look at their cars. It starts from the Renault Kwid which stirred up the budget compact cars along with the superbly priced Tata Tiago. The most value-for-money brand – Maruti Suzuki, is slowly going premium with products like the Ignis and is doing extremely well thanks to its image of a low-baller. The Vitara Brezza has turned out to be a winner for Maruti while Hyundai has registered the best ever month for its premium SUV, the Creta by selling over 9,000 units in February. Speaking about premium SUVs, the Toyota Fortuner has lapped every other premium SUV on the market track selling almost 2,000 units yet again in the month of February. Also, Honda has re-established itself as the C-segment king by outselling the Maruti Ciaz in February.
While Mahindra’s sales are down by almost 20 per cent over its numbers of February 2016, it is the only car maker in the top five whose sales have grown over January 2017. Mahindra was one of the worst hit by demonetisation as its customer base belongs to the cash-centred tier 3 and rural markets. With the GDP numbers for the last quarter surging beyond 10 per cent, the Indian economy is back on its growth track. Also with a balanced budget and the expected roll-out of GST, streamlined indirect taxation might lead to a boost in spending capacity of the middle class Indians which in turn will certainly kick up automotive sales.