Car sales are usually bleak in the first quarter of the year, most often due to price hikes and the conclusion of festive season discounts. February 2019 wasn’t any different and car sales for most of the leading car manufacturers were slightly lower than expectations. Nonetheless, the top three positions in terms of Year-on-Year (YoY) and Month-on-Month (MoM) sales were held by three leading Indian car manufacturers - Mahindra (YoY - 16 per cent and MoM - 0.7per cent), Tata (YoY and MoM – 2 per cent) and Maruti Suzuki (YoY – 0.2 per cent and MoM – 0.5 per cent).
Starting with Mahindra, a popular name in the utility vehicle segment, witnessed positive growth of nine per cent in February with 24,520 units sold as against the 22,399 units in January, primarily due to new product launches in the form of the Alturas G4 and the XUV300. As compared to February 2018 with 21,062 unit sales, the company has reported a 16 per cent growth in February 2019 with 24,520 unit sales. The Bolero has always been a steady player for the company averaging about 8,000 units sold every month. Following right after, the newly launched XUV300 sold 4,484 units in February. Mahindra Scorpio, a popular name in the SUV segment has witnessed a nine per cent drop in sales with 4,445 units sold in February 2019 as against 4,882 units sold in January 2019. Mahindra has posted a 34 per cent growth for the Alturas G4, however, only 430 units of the SUV have been sold in February which is not too impressive.
Tata Motors has posted a growth of 2 per cent in terms of YoY and MoM sales. The Tata Tiago and the Tata Nexon have been two popular sellers for the company averaging over 8,000 units and over 5,000 units respectively, every month. The Nexon continues to remain a popular name in the compact SUV segment while the recently introduced Harrier SUV is slowly picking up sales with 1,449 units sold as against 422 422 units sold in January 2019.
The country’s largest car manufacturer, Maruti Suzuki, has witnessed a cumulative sales growth of 0.2 per cent (YoY) and 0.5 per cent (MoM). It is interesting to note that the Arena division has been a major contributor to the overall sales while the premium Nexa division has been witnessing a drop in sales. Nexa lost the highest market share in February 2019 and also reported YoY degrowth of 14 per cent. Apart from Baleno, all other models in the Nexa portfolio appear to be slowing down. The recently launched Wagon R witnessed 56 per cent growth with 15,661 units sold in February 2019 as against 10,048 units sold in January 2019. The Baleno held its head high with 17,944 units sold in February while the Swift reported sales of 18,224 units even with three per cent MoM drop in sales. Apart from these, the Dzire, Ertiga and the Alto have been strong selling products averaging over 16,000 units, 7,000 units and 24,000 units, respectively. Maruti Suzuki’s popular selling compact SUV, the Brezza has witnessed a 12 per cent MoM drop in sales with 11,613 units sold in February 2019.
The Japanese conglomerate, Nissan and Datsun posted degrowth of 41.8 per cent. Surprisingly, the Kicks has witnessed a 56 per cent drop in sales in February 2019 with 609 units as against 1,370 units sold in January 2019. Overall, the passenger vehicle sales have witnessed a decline in sales owing to weak consumer sentiments, an increase in insurance costs and tight liquidity after the IL&FS crisis hampered purchases. Moreover, the upcoming BS6 norms and general elections are likely to further have an impact on car sales in the country.