They are bitter rivals, competing day in day out for the same prize across the world but with recession eating into their busines like never before — automobile majors Suzuki, Hyundai and Honda have a common denominator — India.
The three Asian auto majors have seen their sales decline heavily in developed markets in recent months, but their performance in India has been as solid as ever.
Suzuki Motor Corporation saw its overall sales decline 22.4 per cent in April-June 2009, but its Indian subsidiary, Maruti Suzuki India Ltd, posted an overall growth of 17.7 per cent, selling 2.27 lakh cars in the 3-month period.
It had grown a mere 1.45 per cent in the previous fiscal.
Little wonder that Suzuki is tipped to weather the downturn better than most car makers. Maruti’s four car assembly plants account for over 45 per cent of Suzuki's total sales.
Arch rival Hyundai Motor Corporation also saw its sales skid by 20.8 per cent in the first six months of this year, as demand for its cars slumped in the US and Europe. Even its home market, South Korea, saw stagnant sales at 314,000 units.
In India though, courtesy recent successes like i10 and i20, the company’s sales rose 9.7 per cent to 2.57 lakh units. China saw an even greater surge at 56 per cent during the same period.
The story was no different in the case of Honda: its sales 20.4 per cent in the April-June period selling almost 2 lakh less cars than last year. Its biggest reversals were in North America, where its sales slumped 30 per cent, and Russia and Japan.
The new City and the small car Jazz helped the company log 5.7 per cent sales growth, thanks to India and China.
The company has revised its sales forecast for 2010 for Asia and Japan, downgrading North America and Europe.