When the 2014 Auto Expo concluded in February there was a general air of euphoria in the Auto Industry. Last year, the automobile industry was in a slump and were eagerly looking to put the worst behind them. This February, domestic car sales in India rose by 1.4 per cent after four straight months of fall, according to figures released by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM).
These figures are enough to infuse some hope into worried auto manufacturers. This coupled with the relief that was received from the Excise Duty cut has fuelled growth in sales. Domestic car sales stood at 1,60,718 vehicles in February 2014 as compared to 1,58,512 vehicles in February 2013.
According to SIAM figures the year-on-year growth for companies like Maruti, Hyundai, Tata do not show much of a change. The difference, however, can be seen in Honda’s sales during this period. The credit for this rise may be distributed between the Honda Amaze and the new Honda City. Their new production plant in Rajasthan has also helped in this respect.
If we were to look at the top manufacturers from February 2013-2014, the numero uno position has been taken by Maruti Suzuki, followed by Hyundai, Mahindra, Honda and Tata. Maruti’s top spot can be attributed to the Alto, Swift Dzire and the new in-thing, the Celerio (AMT). Hyundai is helped to the second position because of the number of launches it had in this period: Grand i10, Verna facelift and the all-new Santa Fe. Then, there's the upcoming Xcent sedan. Mahindra cemented its third spot due to the Bolero and contributions from the Scorpio and the XUV500. But lagging behind are Volkswagen, Nissan, Skoda and Fiat.
Segment wise, B2, the premium hatchback set with cars like Swift, Micra, Pulse, i10 Grand, etc… emerged as the hottest one in the country.
Looking at these standings, one can see that most of the manufacturers that boasted of major launches in this period have shown positive activity, meanwhile the others have struggled to make the figures look respectable. Now, with cars getting cheaper this month due to the excise cut and the depreciation benefits and all, business might just be looking up. Only a few launches have taken place till now with but once the elections are over in April, competition will stay heated up as a majority of the new cars will take centrestage then. While Maruti has already played its card, others like Tata, Honda and Hyundai are waiting for the opportune moment to garner the desired sales figures.