India’s passenger vehicle sales to have increased more than 8% last month

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India’s passenger vehicle sales are estimated to have increased more than 8% last month, boosting the annual volumes beyond the pre-pandemic peak registered four years ago, helped by improved supplies and sustained demand in the local market.

Industry estimates suggest as many as 276,000 passenger vehicles were dispatched from factories to dealerships in December, compared with 255,000 units a year earlier. With this, the volume in 2022 likely gained 23% from the previous year to 3.79 million. The previous record was 3.39 million vehicles sold in 2018.

Vehicles priced more than Rs 10 lakh accounted for 40% of the sales in the just-ended year, indicating a shift towards premium models in a market which has previously been known for the preference for small affordable cars.

Automakers in India largely report wholesale dispatches from factories and not retail sales to customers.

Market leader Maruti Suzuki reported a decline of 9% in vehicle dispatches at 112,010 units last month, despite it sitting on a huge backlog of orders. A shortage in electronic components had some impact on the production of vehicles, mainly for the domestic market, at the company, which said it took all possible measures to minimise the impact.

Shashank Srivastava, senior executive officer (marketing and sales) at Maruti Suzuki, said while a shortage of microchips impacted production of in-demand models to some extent, the company controlled roll-out of other vehicles to minimise carriage of year-end stocks. It has pending orders of 363,000 units.

“Demand seems to be good. Last month, enquiries as well as bookings were at elevated levels,” said Srivastava, adding: “We have to monitor customer demand going ahead to assess the impact of the increase in vehicle prices due to implementation of certain regulatory norms.”In the year that just ended, Maruti Suzuki’s sales grew 16% to 1.58 million vehicles.

Korean auto major Hyundai Motor recorded its highest-ever annual sales in India, dispatching 552,511 units in 2022 with growth of 9.4%.

“Despite strong headwinds in the last few years, we have continued to challenge existing boundaries and establish new Industry benchmarks. SUVs now contribute to more than 50% of our overall volumes,” said Tarun Garg, director (sales, marketing & service) at Hyundai Motor India. It sold as many as 140,895 units of the Creta SUV in the past year.

At Tata Motors, sales increased 13.4% in December, which took it ahead of Hyundai Motor in volumes last month — 40,043 units against the Korean rival’s 38,831 units.

Tata Motors closed the year with total sales of 526,798 passenger vehicles. Tata Motors Passenger Vehicles and Tata Passenger Electric Mobility managing director Shailesh Chandra said: “Overall, we expect the PV industry to continue witnessing robust demand in the next quarter.”

At Kia India, sales in December nearly doubled to 15,184 units, while for the year, the volume went up by 40% to 254,556 units.

Toyota Kirloskar Motor too registered its best-ever annul volume in a decade, selling around 160,000 units in 2022.

In the commercial vehicle segment, market leader Tata Motors saw sales grow by 6.3% to 32,954 units in December. Girish Wagh, executive director at Tata Motors, said: “Improving fleet utilisations, pick up in road construction projects and increase in cement consumption catalysed the demand recovery for MHCVs (medium and heavy commercial vehicles) … Going forward, we expect a good replacement demand, especially in MHCVs in Q4 FY23, as we also maintain a close watch on the evolving geopolitical situation, inflation and interest rate risks on both the supply and demand.”

COMPANY DEC 2021 DEC 2022 % CHANGE
Maruti Suzuki 123,016 112,010 -9
Hyundai Motor India 32,312 38,831 20.2
Tata Motors 35,299 40,043 13.4
Kia India 7,797 15,184 95
Toyota Kirloskar Motor 10,834 10,421 -4
MG Motor India 2,550 3,899 53

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