November auto sales muted on high fuel prices, low credit flow

Last Updated: Sun, Dec 02, 2018 14:10 hrs
A gas station attendant pumps fuel into a customer's car at a gas station in Shangha

New Delhi: Indian automobile manufacturers on Saturday reported a broadly negative sales trend for November 2018, as Maruti Suzuki, the market leader in passenger car segment reported a 0.7 per cent decline in total sales.

According to analysts, unfavourable base effect, along with high fuel and interest costs, dented the monthly sales of some manufacturers.

As per Maruti Suzuki India's monthly sales figures, a total of 153,539 units were sold last month, compared to 154,600 units' off-take recorded during the corresponding period of the last financial year.

However, the company's domestic sales rose 0.5 per cent on a year-on-year basis to 146,018 units in November.

Although, the domestic passenger vehicles sales dipped 0.3 per cent to 143,890 units, the company's sales of light commercial vehicles in the country rose 112.2 per cent to 2,128 units.

On the other hand, exports slumped 19.1 per cent to 7,521 vehicles.

So far, in the financial year 2018-19, the company has sold a total of 12,75,632 units, which is 7.4 per cent higher than 1,187,735 units off-take during the corresponding period of last fiscal.

Similarly, Hyundai Motor India reported a decline in November sales. The country which is the second largest car maker registered a domestic sales of 43,709 units last month, 0.67 per cent lower than 44,008 units sold in November 2017.

Another domestic auto giant Tata Motors reported a decline in domestic sales. The company's November domestic sales went down by four per cent to 50,470 units.

"Tata Motors' commercial vehicles (CV) domestic sales declined in November 2018 at 33,488 units, by 5 per cent, compared to 35,307 units sold last November, due to low consumer sentiments as a result of liquidity tightening in the market, higher interest rates and rising fuel costs," it said in a regulatory filing at the BSE.

It further noted: "November 2018 was a challenging month for the industry with muted consumer sentiment caused by liquidity crunch, non-availability of retail finance and moderate festive season."

However, another key Indian player Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) reported a 17 per cent rise in its vehicle sales including exports for November, compared on a year-on-year basis.

The total sales of the company stood at 45,101 units last month, against 38,570 units recorded during the corresponding period of the financial year 2017-18.

Toyota Kirloskar Motor sold a total of 10,721 units in the Indian market last month compared 12,734 units off-take recorded in November 2017.

Commenting on the monthly sales, Mr. N. Raja, Deputy Managing Director, Toyota Kirloskar Motor said, "Fluctuating exchange rates, rising fuel costs and high interest rates have impacted the consumer sentiment in auto industry. Consumer demand has witnessed a downward trend over the festive period as compared to same period last year."

Honda Cars India (HCIL) registered a growth of 10 per cent with monthly domestic sales of 13,006 units in November 2018 against 11,819 units in the corresponding month last year.

In the two-wheeler segment, Suzuki Motorcycle India reported a growth of 24.19 per cent in domestic sale to 53,058 units over the 42,722 units it had sold in November 2017.

Hero MotoCorp, however, reported a marginal increase of 0.8 per cent in its total sales at 610,252 units.

"Wholesale PV dispatches has remained muted in November-2018 as dealerships focused on rationalising their inventory level given slowing demand amid cautious consumer sentiments," said Ashish Modani, VP - Corporate Sector Ratings, ICRA.

"Going forward, rural demand is a key monitorable to be watched closely. Given political uncertainty post general election in the coming year, customer sentiments continue to remain cautious which will weigh on the PV growth rate in the near term."

In terms of passenger cars sales, Sridhar V., Partner, Grant Thornton India said: "The much expected festival sales did not result in a bumper growth due to various macro economic factors including fuel price increase, increased financing cost and rupee losing out to dollar."

"The derease in crude price over November coupled with rupee gains and discounts offered should hopefully pep up the volumes of passenger cars in December which usually is a dull month."


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