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Festive Demand And Rural Recovery Support Auto Sales In March

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Auto sales across all vehicle segments rose in March on the back of a recovery in the rural market and higher demand during Navratri and Gudi Padwa festivals considered auspicious for new purchases.

Here's how automakers fared in March 2018.

Wholesales of commercial and passenger vehicles are expected to remain healthy as demand continues to outstrip supply in key markets, partially due to supply shortage, said Motilal Oswal Research in a note.

Passenger Vehicles

Sales for India's largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki Ltd. rose, driven by the demand for its small and compact cars.

The automaker’s volumes jumped nearly 15 percent year-on-year to 1,60,598 units last month, it said in an exchange filing today. Domestic sales increased 16.1 percent to 1,48,582 units, while exports rose 2.1 percent to 12,016 units on a yearly basis.

Sales of the mini segment comprising the Alto and the WagonR rose 21.1 percent to 37,511 units, while it sold 13.5 percent more compacts like the Swift, the Baleno and the Ignis at 68,885 units. Sales of utility vehicles including the Ertiga, the S-Cross and the Vitara Brezza rose 24.3 percent to 22,764 units. Sales of mid-sized sedan Ciaz declined 12.1 percent to 4,321 units.

Tata Motors Ltd.’s passenger vehicles sales rose more than 30 percent to 20,266 units, driven by the demand for the Nexon and the Hexa utility vehicles. While the automaker's sales of passenger car segment, including the Tiago hatchback and the Tigor sedan, declined 4 percent, utility vehicle volumes rose 223 percent.

The Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. Stinger concept sports utility vehicle (SUV) stands on display at the Auto Expo 2018 held in Noida, Uttar Pradesh. (Photographer: Anindito Mukherjee/Bloomberg)  

Mahindra & Mahindra's passenger vehicle sales increased 4 percent to 26,555 units over the year-ago period, it said in a stock exchange notification. The company looks to increase its market share in the utility vehicle space with new automotive launches lined up in ongoing financial year, Rajan Wadhera, president, automotive sector, M&M, said in a statement.

Commercial Vehicles

India's largest truckmaker Tata Motors’s domestic sales jumped 35 percent in March, partly aided by its commercial vehicles.

It sold 69,440 trucks, an increase of 37 percent over March last year, Tata Motors said in an exchange filing. Exports rose 17 percent to 6,643 units during the month.

Sale of medium and heavy vehicles continued to be buoyant with 16,886 units sold amid rising demand from infrastructure and rural economy-based sectors. The higher volumes were due to “strong acceptance” of Bharat Stage-IV compliant vehicles and new launches, it said.

An Indian truckdriver uses the side-view mirror of his Ashok Leyland Ltd. truck to shave prior to heading out on the day’s runs in Mumbai. (Photographer: Santosh Verma/Bloomberg News)

The light commercial truck segment registered a strong performance at 5,737 units, a growth of 97 percent over the last year.

"This growth was on the back of the government’s push towards infrastructure development, restriction on overloading, road construction and mining activities along with increasing demand from e-commerce & FMCG applications. " - Tata Motors Statement

Exports rose 17 percent to 6,443 units.

Chennai-based truck and bus maker Ashok Leyland Ltd.’s sales rose 20 percent to 22,453 units. Light commercial vehicle sales for the company jumped 58 percent year-on-year to 5,396 units. Its volumes for the year-ended March grew 21 percent to 1.74 lakh units.


Royal Enfield maker Eicher Motors Ltd.’s sales rose as its premium motorcycles continued to see high demand.

Models with engine capacity exceeding 350 cc registered a 301 percent growth to 6,680 units. Total sales increased 27 percent to 76,087 units in March, it said in a BSE filing. Exports grew by 20 percent to 1,878 units.

An Eicher Motors Ltd. Royal Enfield Desert Storm motorcycle stands on display at the company’s Royal Enfield flagship dealership in Gurgaon, India (Photographer: Prashanth Vishwanathan/Bloomberg)  

Country’s largest two-wheeler maker Hero MotoCorp clocked its highest ever monthly sales at 703,473 units in March, a jump of nearly 20 percent from March last year. It crossed the 75 lakh units sales mark in the financial year 2017-18, becoming the first ever entity to achieve such a feat globally, the company said in a statement.

"We are determined and focused on bringing technologically-advanced products for our customers across the globe, building our production capacities and expanding our customer touch points." - Pawan Munjal Chairman, Managing Director & CEO, Hero MotoCorp

TVS Motor Company sold a total of 326,659 vehicles in March compared to a sale of 256,341 units a year ago. Scooter sales grew 20 percent while motorcycles sales jumped 40.5 percent.


Domestic tractor sales of M&M’s farm equipment segment rose 50 percent in March to 26,958 units. “We have seen a good momentum in the fourth quarter, and hope to see it continue next year too,” Rajesh Jejurikar, president, farm equipment sector, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd., said in a statement. “In the exports market, we sold 1,319 tractors.”

A farmer driving a Mahindra 475 DI tractor, manufactured by Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd., transports soil to an areca nut farm in the village of Kuragunda in Karnataka. (Photographer: Prashanth Vishwanathan/Bloomberg)  

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