SUVs boost car sales to record 3.9 million in FY23


India’s passenger vehicle sales rose 27% to a record 3.9 million units in the last fiscal year ended Friday, as improved component supplies helped automakers step up production to meet strong demand and clear order backlog. The previous peak for passenger vehicle sales in a fiscal year was 3.38 million units — recorded in FY19.

These are wholesale dispatches from factories to dealerships, not deliveries to customers which automakers in India do not report.

Industry volumes were buoyed by strong sales at the top three automakers — Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai Motor India and Tata Motors — all of them reporting their highest fiscal-year sales. While Maruti Suzuki posted growth of 21% to sell 1.61 million units in the domestic market, Korean rival Hyundai’s sales rose 18% to 567,546 units.

Tata Motors sold 538,640 units, a 45% increase from the previous fiscal year. “Despite several challenges last year including constraints in availability of semiconductors, the industry posted strong double-digit growth,” said Shashank Srivastava, senior executive director (marketing and sales) at Maruti Suzuki.

Including exports, Maruti Suzuki sold 1.86 million units, he said, adding: “We hope to outperform the industry this fiscal on the back of new SUV launches.” Industry estimates suggest sales growth to slow down in FY24.

Dispatches Up 4.4% in March

The industry expects volume growth to slow to 5-7% in the new fiscal year on a high base to 4.05-4.10 million units. The primary diver of the growth has been SUVs, a trend that industry executives expect would continue in fiscal 2024 as well.Maruti Suzuki, which will shortly launch SUVs Fronx and Jimny, is targeting doubling its share in this fast-growing segment. In March as well, wholesale and retail sales rose to record levels for passenger vehicles.

While wholesale dispatches increased by 4.4% to 336,000 units, retail volumes, based on vehicle registration data from regional transport offices, rose 3.7% to around 305,000 units. Inventory at dealerships and with manufacturers, meanwhile, reduced to 204,500 units as of March 31 from 218,000 units at the start of the month.

Tarun Garg, chief operating officer, Hyundai Motor India, said: “Despite global headwinds, we see momentum in the India auto industry, backed by the strong India growth story led by Gen MZ.” Hyundai sold 50,600 units in March, up 13.5% from a year earlier.

Shailesh Chandra, managing director at Tata Motors Passenger Vehicles and Tata Passenger Electric, said the steep industry growth was driven by post-Covid pent-up demand in the early part of the year, the launch of several new vehicles and easing of the semiconductor shortage. Tata Motors sold 44,044 units last month, an increase of 4% on-year.

The company expects demand for personal vehicles to remain robust with the trend of electrification becoming stronger. “However, the growth rate of the passenger vehicle industry may moderate due to a strong base effect as well as macro factors including hardening interest rates, rising inflation, and the cost impact from progressive regulatory norms,” added Chandra.For Korean automaker Kia, India sales fell 5% in March to 21,501 units. Fiscal-year sales, however, grew 44% to 269,229 units.Toyota Kirloskar Motor posted a 41% increase in fiscalyear sales to 174,015 units. Vice president of sales and strategic marketing Atul Sood said he expected the growth momentum to continue.



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