India’s largest car maker Maruti Suzuki India Ltd and utility vehicle major Mahindra and Mahindra provided some relief to the intensifying gloom in the auto sector that saw most of the manufacturers registering double-digit decline in sales in September.
Maruti celebrated its near return to normalcy at its Manesar factories with a 12.7% growth in sales at 88,801 units, though the low base effect of last year, when workers at the same factories were on strike, also helped its case.M&M on the other hand, continued its dream run with a 22.4% jump at 23,808 units largely on the back of its newly-launched Quanto and XUV5OO. In the process, Mahindra has again overtaken Tata to become the country’s third-largest passenger vehicle manufacturer in September.
“We have done well last month as the pull factor for our products remains high,” said Pawan Goenka, president, automotive sector, Mahindra and Mahindra. “The overall sentiment in the industry, however, remains subdued as is visible from the performance of the other companies. I think the market is waiting for one more positive move, maybe a cut in interest rates, for optimism to set in.”
The lower-than-expected set of numbers have acted as a dampener to the hopes of a revival during the upcoming festive season and increased desperation within the industry. Second-placed Hyundai was bogged down by its highest ever sales decline in September, while Tata Motors’ recent revival received a setback with a near 18% drop in sales. The two companies are hoping the situation would improve from this month.
“We expect the suppressed demand would improve on account of festive purchases as the demand peaks during this period,” said Rakesh Srivastava, vice-president, national sales, Hyundai Motor India.