Festive cheer alone may not be enough to counter the impact of the slowdown, going by September automobile sales.
Market leader Maruti Suzuki registered a near-2% growth last month. But the next four in the pecking order—Hyundai, Mahindra, Tata and Toyota—sank, with Tata and Mahindra logging steep double-digit falls.
“While there is growth over August 2013, it is not to an extent that makes us comfortable as we approach the festive season,” said Pravin Shah, chief executive, automotive division, M&M.
“Increase in input costs and the depreciating rupee have not helped,” said Shah. “The industry is definitely in need of a trigger in terms of a stimulus to boost consumer sentiments leading to a turnaround.”
Perhaps the big surprise was Hyundai, whose recently-launched Grand i10 was expected to give a fillip to sales: the company’s sales dipped by a marginal 0.8% over 2012.
“In the current market scenario, volume growth is a big challenge. We have received phenomenal response (for the Grand),” said Rakesh Srivastava, senior vice president, sales and marketing, HMIL. “We expect the market challenges to continue and have a cautious optimism for upcoming festive season.”
Only Honda and Ford ducked the trend with 88% and 37% growth respectively, thanks to their new models Amaze and EcoSport.
There was some cheer in the two-wheeler segment though, with all major manufacturers posting healthy growth. Hero MotoCorp registered a near 16% growth last year, its first monthly double-digit increase since May 2012, while rival Honda posted a 35% increase.