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No festive cheer for Maruti as output slashed for eighth straight month

A series of growth-promoting measures taken by the government have failed to lift car sales growth even in the festive season.

Maruti Suzuki India cut its production by 17.48 per cent in September, making it the eighth straight month when the country’s largest carmaker lowered its output, in line with the slowdown in the automobile sector. A series of growth-promoting measures taken by the government have failed to lift car sales growth even in the festive season.

The company produced a total of 1,32,199 units in September, as against 1,60,219 units in the year-ago month, Maruti Suzuki India said in a filing with the NSE. Last month, passenger vehicles’ production stood at 1,30,264 units, as against 1,57,659 units in September 2018 — a decline of 17.37 per cent, the company said.

Maruti’s production of mini and compact segment cars, including the Alto, the S-Presso, the New WagonR, the Celerio, the Ignis, the Swift, the Baleno and the Dzire, stood at 98,337 units, as against 1,15,576 units last September, down 14.91 per cent. Similarly, production of utility vehicles such as the Gypsy, the Vitara the Brezza, the Ertiga, the XL-6 and the S-Cross declined 17.05 per cent to 18,435 units, compared to 22,226 units a year ago.

Mid-sized sedan Ciaz saw its production reduced to 2,350 units in September from 4,739 units in the same month last year. Light commercial vehicle Super Carry’s production was also trimmed to 1,935 units last month, from 2,560 units in September 2018, the filing said. In August, the automaker cut its production by 33.99 per cent at 1,11,370 units.

All the major automobile makers, including Maruti, Hyundai, Mahindra & Mahindra, Tata Motors, Toyota and Honda, have reported double-digit decline in domestic passenger vehicle sales in September, as the onset of the festive season failed to lift the slump in the auto industry.

During the month, Bajaj Auto witnessed a 35 per cent drop in domestic sale of motorcycles at 1.77 lakh units. Ashok Leyland announced the sale of 4,035 units of medium and heavy commercial vehicles in September, which is a 69 per cent decline over its sale of 13,056 units in September 2018.

With GDP growth rate falling to 5 per cent for the first quarter ended June 2019 and wage growth not keeping pace with expectations, economists and market experts say that people are generally looking to reduce their expenditures and the sentiment has turned negative. The government last month announced drastic cuts in corporate tax rates, a step that will aid profitability of companies and encourage them to reinvest profits.