The Indian automotive wholesales maintained a strong foothold in 2018, despite sluggish demand in the latter part of the year. The year started with euphoria around new launches. But high interest rates, increased insurance premium, floods in Kerala, and new axle norms dented new buying in the second half of the year.
The overall automobile wholesales (including two-wheelers) increased by 12.7 percent in 2018 to 26,763,767 units compared to 23,747,408 units dispatched a year ago. Most of the segments had double digit growth except passenger vehicles which recorded 5.32 percent growth at 3,393,705 units as against 3,222,220 units in 2017.
The sales of utility vehicles, cars and vans were up 7.9 percent, three percent and 10.3 percent, respectively.
In 2018 commercial vehicle sales grew by 27 percent and crossed the one million mark, three-wheelers by 32 percent to 718,284 and two-wheelers by 12.8 percent to 21,645,169 units.
December Remained In Red
The overall automotive dispatches in December 2018 from the factories to the Indian dealerships declined by 2.9 percent to 1,617,356 units as against 1,666,878 units in the same month in 2017.
Passenger vehicle wholesales dropped marginally by 0.43 per cent to 23892 units in December 2018 compared to 239,723 units sold in the same month previous year. Both car and utility vehicle wholesales dropped by 2.01 percent and 2.33 percent respectively in the period under review. Van sales grew by 25.95 percent to 1,885 units.
Maruti Suzuki India’s wholesale volumes grew by just one percent to 119,804 units in December 2018 over the same month in the previous year. Sales of the mini cars Alto and WagonR declined by 14 percent to 27,661 units, and of the compacts (Swift, Celerio, Baleno, Ignis and DZire) by 3.8 percent to 51,334 units. However, sales of mid-size sedan Ciaz nearly doubled to 4,734 units and of the utility vehicles by 4.9 percent to 20,225 units.
Hyundai Motor India fared better supported by the newly-launched Santro. It sold 42,093 vehicles in December 2018 compared to 40,158 units sold in the corresponding period of 2017, registering a growth of 4.6 percent.
Honda Cars India posted four percent increase in monthly sales numbers to 13,139 units.
Mahindra & Mahindra’s wholesales declined by three percent to 15,091 units in December 2018 compared to 15,543 units sold in the same month in 2017.
“In the domestic market, challenges relating to tight liquidity and low buying sentiment continued in December. We hope to see good performance in Q4, owing to anticipated rural demand because of the harvesting season and the launch of our new XUV300,” Rajan Wadhera, President, Automotive Sector, M&M, said.
Ford India witnessed a growth of 14.8 percent in its domestic sales at 5,840 units in December 2018. “For Ford in India 2018 was a turnaround year as we consistently delivered on our strategy of Strong Brand, Right Product, Competitive Cost and Effective Scale to strengthen our commitment to India,” Anurag Mehrotra, President and MD, Ford India, said.
Tata Motors saw wholesale volumes rise by a modest one percent to 14,260 units. Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM) bucked the trend to report 10 percent increase in wholesale volumes at 11,830 units, driven by demand for the Innova Crysta and the Fortuner. N Raja, Deputy Managing Director, TKM, said, “We are happy to close the year-end with a series of positive milestones despite the dampening effect on consumer sentiment owing to rise in fuel prices, higher interest rates, and increase in insurance premium.”
Two-wheeler wholesales also declined by 2.23 percent in December 2018 to 1,259,026 units compared to 1,287,766 units sold in the same month a year ago. Scooter sales fell by 6.08 percent to 406,137 units as against 432,427 units.
Hero MotoCorp witnessed 3.9 percent decline in its total sales to 453,985 units in December 2018. About the overall sales performance, Pawan Munjal, Chairman, Hero MotoCorp, said, “The increased cost of two-wheeler insurance ahead of the Diwali festive season and the prevailing liquidity crunch in the market impacted the overall momentum of growth in the industry during the entire third quarter.”
Royal Enfield saw sales (domestic and exports) drop by 14 percent to 56,026 units. In the two-wheeler segment, Bajaj Auto reported 18 percent increase in total sales to 346,199 units as against 292,547 units in the same month previous year. Its two-wheeler sales grew by 18 percent in December 2018 to 346,199 units compared to 292,547 units sold in the previous year same month.
TVS Motor wholesales in December stood at 271,395 compared to 256,870 in the same month a year ago, registering a hike of six percent.
Following the industry trend commercial vehicle wholesales also declined by 7.8 percent to 75,984 units in December 2018 compared to 82,409 units in the same month a year ago.
M&HCV segment fell by 20.7 percent to 31,299 units in December 2018 against 39,486 in the same month a year ago. LCV sales also moved down to 44,685 in December 2018 as against 42,923 units in the same month a year ago.
Tata Motors sales fell by 11 percent to 36,180 units as against 40,447 units in the same month the previous year. VE Commercial Vehicle reported an increase of 2.4 percent in the period under review to 6,236. Ashok Leyland also saw a decline by 20 percent to 15,493 in December 2018 as against 19,251 units in the same month in 2017. Mahindra & Mahindra’s wholesales went down to 15,493 in December 2018 compared to 19,251 units in the same month a year ago.
Three-wheeler sales also plummeted by 23.39 percent in December 2018 to 43,650 units against 56,980 in the same month the previous year.