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    Indian auto industry breaks records: 363,733 cars and SUVs sold in September


    In percentage terms, sales rose by a modest 2% during the month, hemmed in by a high year-earlier base which saw robust post-pandemic pent-up demand. Companies mostly report wholesale dispatches from plants to dealerships and not retail sales to customers.

    Automakers in India set a record in monthly sales selling 363,733 cars and sport-utility vehicles in September as they accelerated dealer dispatches from factories to build stocks ahead of the key festivals of Dussehra and Diwali.

    In percentage terms, sales rose by a modest 2% during the month, hemmed in by a high year-earlier base which saw robust post-pandemic pent-up demand. Companies mostly report wholesale dispatches from plants to dealerships and not retail sales to customers.

    While demand for sport-utility vehicles remained robust amid a spate of new launches, there continued to be some pressure on sales on entry-level cars. Senior industry executives, however, are optimistic that the demand momentum will sustain and lift sales across segments this festive season.

    Shashank Srivastava, senior executive officer (marketing and sales) at market leader Maruti Suzuki said monthly sales of passenger vehicles reported the best-ever performance for the ninth straight month in September.

    Half yearly sales too crossed the two-million mark for the first time as consumer demand remained buoyant.

    “Three factors supported dispatches. The festive season has started off well with Onam in Kerala and Ganesh Chaturthi in Maharashtra. Bookings and enquiries remain healthy. With semiconductor shortage easing, automakers have also been able to ramp up production and build stocks for deliveries during Dussehra and Diwali,” Srivastava said.

    The Suzuki Motor Corp. unit sold 150,812 units last month, a 1.6% rise from 148,380 vehicles sold a year earlier. The company, in fact, sold more than a million vehicles for the first time in a half year, aided by demand for its range of SUVs Fronx, Jimny, Brezza and Grand Vitara.

    Rivals Hyundai Motor India and Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) also reported record monthly sales in September. Tarun Garg, chief operating officer (COO), Hyundai Motor India said, “In September 2023, HMIL achieved its highest ever total monthly sales since inception marking a key milestone in the brand’s history. The ongoing festive season has resulted in a strong sales momentum, helping us achieve more than 9% growth YoY in domestic sales in September 2023.”

    The Korean automaker sold 54,241 passenger vehicles in the Indian market last month.

    Garg said Hyundai has received around 80,000 bookings for its latest model micro SUV, Exter. As much as two-thirds of the company’s September sales came from SUVs, a sharp rise from 54% in the first half of the calendar year.

    Mahindra’s sales volume jumped by a fifth to 41,267 units in September. Veejay Nakra, president (automotive division), M&M, “We are excited to achieve our highest-ever sales of SUVs for the third consecutive month. While demand for our key SUV brands continues to be strong, we are keeping a close watch on the availability of semiconductors and select components to meet the strong festive season demand.”

    Tata Motors, however, reported a 6% decline in monthly volumes at 44,809 vehicles in September. The company said it had reduced supplies of models that were being phased out during the quarter to make way for next generation models, which included compact SUV Nexon and its electric variant. “We had proactively reduced supplies of the outgoing models this quarter to enable a smooth transition to the new generation models. Going forward, with deliveries commencing of our exciting new generation products, we expect stepped up volumes in this festive season and beyond,” Shailesh Chandra, managing director, Tata Motors Passenger Vehicles and Tata Passenger Electric Mobility said.

    Atul Sood, vice president of sales, and strategic marketing at Toyota Kirloskar Motor, said the company too is expecting demand momentum to pick up further going ahead. “As we move forward in the festive season, we are expecting a promising period with demand continuing to grow thus further enhancing our sales performance,” he said. The unit of Japan’s Toyota Motor Corp. reported domestic sales growth of 44% in September at 22,168 vehicles.

    In the commercial vehicle segment, sales at Tata Motors rose 13% to 37,214 units in September. Girish Wagh, executive director, Tata Motors said, “M&HCV segment saw a strong growth of 24% over Q2 of

    FY23, fuelled by continued government infrastructure push, robust replacement demand, and growth in core sectors, along with sustained growth from the e-commerce sector. Looking ahead, continuing infrastructure thrust by the government and improving consumption augur well for the CV industry, while rural demand remains to be a key monitorable, as monsoon has been below average.”

    In the farm equipment sector, sales of Mahindra tractors fell 11% to 42,034 units last month. Hemant Sikka, president (FES), M&M, said, “Smart recovery in Kharif sowing with more than 110 mn hectares and the start of festive fervour is expected to bring positive sentiments among the farmers. Normal rains in September have helped overall monsoon to achieve near normal levels and this will help in Rabi sowing, especially in Central, Northern and Western regions of the country.”

    COMPANY / SEP 2022 / SEP 2023 / % CHANGE
    Maruti Suzuki - 148,380 /150,812 /1.6
    Hyundai Motor India - 49,700 / 54,241 /9.13
    Tata Motors - 47,654 / 44,809 / (-6)
    Mahindra & Mahindra - 34,508 / 41,267 / 20
    Toyota Kirloskar Motor - 15,378 / 22,168/ 44
    MG Motor India - 3,808 / 5,003 / 31

    Domestic sales only

    (Source: Companies)

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