The month of March, if you go by the annual trends, is generally a slow month. The corporate buyers defer their purchases to the next financial year and the individual buyers are busy minimising their taxes. But March 2018 has been a revelation in terms of sales numbers, with four of the top-five sellers registering healthy growth over the sales numbers of March 2017 as well as the sales in February this year.
The overall sales in the financial year 2017-18 have been pegged at about 3.3 million for passenger cars, crossing the 3 million mark second year in a row. With the passenger car market very close to double-digit growth, the automotive sector is clearly out of the woods after years of slow growth and if the upward trends continue, we can expect sales to comfortably whiz past the 3.5 million mark for the current financial year.
The growth has been fuelled by the success of Maruti Suzuki, India’s highest car seller. Despite new products and segments being introduced by rivals, Maruti has held on to its 50 per cent market share, selling 1.65 million cars in 2017-18, growing at 15 per cent year-on-year. Hyundai also grew by five per cent, crossing the 5 lakh cars mark again with the success of the Creta, the Grand i10 and the Elite i20.
Mahindra and Mahindra, the current number three in the race, is going from strength to strength. The Bolero and the Scorpio have been the cash-cows while the XUV has been their star performer. With its new partnership with Ford, Mahindra will add compact and sub-compact SUVs to their arsenal. Tata Motors, on the other hand, is aiming for the third spot and after the success of the Tiago and the Nexon, it looks poised for the same. With the 45X and the H5X concepts to spawn a premium hatchback and a premium compact SUV, Tata Motors can aim for at least 6,000 to 8,000 units more every month.
Moving on to the sales numbers for March 2018, the top-five car sellers in India have registered positive growth over the previous month while only Honda has shown negative growth for the year-on-year sales. The top-performers this month include the Maruti Swift in the hatchback segment and the Baleno in the premium hatchback segment. Ford’s EcoSport has secured its second position in the sub-four metre SUV segment, going past Tata’s Nexon and Hondas WR-V.
The Honda City has reclaimed the sedan crown while the Hyundai Creta continues to be the undisputed king of the premium compact SUV. Tata Tiago seems to have got back on the surge again, crossing 8,000 units while the new Swift is already slated to cross the 20,000 mark.