The last month of the financial year 2018-19, March, ended on a positive note with the auto industry witnessing a feeble Year-on-Year (YOY) growth of 2.7 per cent in this fiscal compared to the FY18. The overall sales figures reveal that the compact SUV, premium hatchback and the compact sedan segment have been the popular choice among the Indian buyers. The top three car manufacturers that have emerged strongly in March 2019 are –Maruti Suzuki, Mahindra and Toyota.
The country’s largest car manufacturer, Maruti Suzuki has witnessed a 6 per cent growth in March 2019 with sales of 1,45,031 units as against 1,36,912 units sold in February this year. Two popular hatchbacks, the Celero and the Ignis have been the major contributors to this success story by posting a growth of 225 per cent and 142 per cent respectively. It is also worth noting that the company has recently discontinued the Omni van (a substantial contributor to the overall sales) and the Gypsy, as they fail to comply with the new safety norms and upgrading them would not be a viable option. However, the company has reported a decline of 1 per cent in March 2019 as compared to the same month in 2018, possibly due to new safety norms which are due for implementation in this new FY19-20.
Mahindra has been growing strong with a spate of new car launches in the country. The popular Indian utility car manufacturer has reported a MoM growth of 30 per cent with 25,982 units sold last month compared to 20,038 units sold in February 2019. Mahindra has sold 4,742 units of the XUV300 within just a month of its launch. The Scorpio and the XUV500 continue to be the popular choice with 22 per cent and six per cent growth respectively. The other newly launched products, namely the Marazzo and the Alturas G4, have posted degrowth of 5 per cent and 25 per cent respectively. As for YoY figures, Mahindra has witnessed a five per cent growth with cumulative sales of 25,982 units last month as against 24,767 units sold in the same month last year.
Japanese car manufacturer Toyota has ended the FY18-19 on a good note by posting a growth of nine per cent with 12,818 units sold in March 2019 as against 11,760 units sold in February 2019. Interestingly, the premium segment models like Camry and the Prado have witnessed the highest growth of 51 per cent and 50 per cent respectively. Apart from these, the Corolla and the Fortuner continue to remain the popular choices in their segment with 16 per cent and 14 per cent growth respectively. As for YoY growth, Toyota has witnessed a two per cent growth in March 2019 with 12,818 unit sales, compared to 12,539 units sold in the same month last year.
Going forward, the new FY19-20 is likely to get more competitive for automakers with new brands entering the Indian market. Given the price-sensitive nature of the Indian market, the revised car prices with new safety features will play a key role in their success or failure.