A majority of the carmakers ended the fiscal 2018 on an upbeat note, registering a growth in passenger vehicle sales. Volumes were boosted due to a steady introduction of new models and refreshes – even as uncertainty over the impact of GST affected demand.
The passenger vehicle sector continues to fire on all cylinders as it grew 7.89 percent year-on-year to 3,287,965 units, and crossed the 3-million sales mark for the second year in a row. While demand for passenger cars, as in FY2017, was above the two-million mark at 2,173,950 units, the surging demand for SUVs, particularly compact SUVs, is helping boost overall passenger vehicle numbers. A total of 921,780 utility vehicles (+20.97%) were sold in FY2018 and given the accelerating pace of demand, expect utility vehicle sales to cross the one-million mark in FY2019.
Demand for utility vehicles is slowly eating into the passenger car market. In FY2018, utility vehicles accounted for 28.03 percent of overall passenger vehicle sales as compared to 25 percent in FY2017, up 3 percent year-on-year Passenger cars accounted for 66.11 percent of overall PV sales in FY2018, down nearly 3 percent from FY2017.
Country's largest carmaker Maruti sold 16,43,467 units – a growth of 13.8 percent, from the 14,43,641 sold last fiscal. Further strengthening its dominance, the brand cornered a market share of 50 percent for the financial year.
Although the Alto and WagonR together have again accounted the largest chunk of volumes at 4,27,183 units, the segment has grown at a modest 3.2 percent in the last fiscal.
Maruti's line of utility vehicles (in the form of the Vitara Brezza, S-Cross, Ertiga and Gypsy) have been a major growth driver for the carmaker – with the Brezza leading the charge. Sales of UVs, overall, stood at 2,53,759 units in FY2018, which marks a sterling growth of 29.6 percent (FY2017: 1,95,741) and 22,764 units in March, up 24.3 percent.
The year saw Maruti launch two key compact cars – the Dzire in May 2017 and the Swift in Feb 2018. Backed by a steady performance of the Baleno, the quintet of compact cars (Swift, Baleno, Ignis, Celerio and Dzire) sold 7,48,475 units, up 28 percent. However, sales of the Ciaz premium sedan slid 8.6 percent to 58,913 units during the fiscal.
The company registered sales of 147,170 units in the month of March, posting a notable growth of 15.3 percent (March 2017: 127,695)
Hyundai Motor India closed FY2018 with sales of 48,009 units in March 2018, up 7.26 percent (March 2017: 44,757). The company registered its best-ever domestic sales in the fiscal and sold a total of 5,36,241 units between April-March 2018, registering a growth of 5.2 percent (April-March 2017: 5,09,705). The Elite i20, Grand i10 and the Creta remained steady performers for the entire year and the third-gen Verna has also found substantial takers, thus giving a tough competition to the popular Honda City.
The Hyundai Creta has been one of the most successful contenders in the UV space, crossing the 2,50,000 milestone in March, nearly three years of being on the roads.
Mahindra’s cumulative PV sales in the fiscal 2018 saw a five percent increase at 2,49,505 units. Mahindra sold 2,33,915 utility vehicles (also up five percent) in the same period, trailing Maruti by 19,844 units.
However, Mahindra’s UV sales have picked up during the last quarter at 67,805 units – keeping it almost 4,300 units ahead of Maruti’s UV sales. The company benefitted from its rural market strategy, which has boosted the sales of the Bolero. The model was one of the Top 10 best-selling PVs in February. “Our focused rural strategy has brought us 12 percent overall growth in upcountry (rural and semi urban) markets with demands picking up for the Bolero Power+ and Scorpio,” said Rajan Wadhera, president-Automotive, Mahindra & Mahindra. In March, the carmaker registered a growth of four percent at 26,555 units.
The company is now gearing up to launch new products such as the U321 (codename) MPV, the S201 (codename) Tivoli-based compact SUV and the XUV5OO facelift. The new launches are set to further bolster its sales in the current fiscal.
Tata Motors registered total PV sales of 20,266 units in March, recording a significant 31 percent growth (March 2017: 15,433) and closing the fiscal with cumulative sales of 1,87,321 units between April-March 2018 – a notable 22 percent growth (April-March 2017: 153,151 units).
Notably, the carmaker drove ahead of Honda to occupy the fourth position among the top-selling carmakers in the 2018 fiscal.
Tata launched a couple of new products in the fiscal, including the compact sedan sibling of its blockbuster Tiago hatchback – the Tigor – as well as the Nexon compact crossover. The company also introduced AMT options into the Tiago and the Tigor, which account for good sales from urban sectors. While its passenger cars' sales declined marginally by 4 percent, UVs posted significant growth of 223 percent in the month of March; albeit on a very low base.
Honda sold 1,70,026 cars in the previous fiscal recording a volume growth of eight percent, majorly on the back of City and the WR-V; the latter drove past the 50,000 sales mark last week. The City sold a total of 56,162 units in the entire 12-month period, contributing 33 percent of the company’s total sales. However, units of the Japanese carmaker were down 28.36 percent at 13,574 units in the month of March. This is primarily due to the subdued sales of the current Amaze on the anticipation of the next-gen model that Honda recently showcased at Auto Expo 2018.
Toyota posted a slump of 1.9 percent at 1,40,645 units in fiscal 2018 and nine percent negative growth in March at 12,539 units. Toyota’s immensely popular Innova Crysta MPV formed the bulk of these sales, contributing 52.44 percent of the company’s total sales until February 2018. While the Japanese carmaker said it sold 83 percent more Fortuners and 16 percent more Corollas, its mass market cars like the Etios sedan and Etios Liva hatchback have failed to gain momentum.
However, Toyota will be launching the feature-laden Yaris sedan, next month, to tap the mid-size sedan market. It will be positioning it above the Etios.
Ford has stepped out of the last fiscal selling 90,062 units, down 1.46 percent. However, Ford’s March volumes were up 3.6 percent at 9,016 units. At present, majority of the Ford sales are attributed to the EcoSport, as all the other models have failed to keep up with competition in their respective segments.
The company is now gearing up to launch another offering in the compact crossover space – namely a Figo hatchback-based crossover, which is set to receive a slew of updates over the regular car. Christened ‘Freestyle’, the crossover will be launched this month and will carry a few major updates, including spruced-up suspension setup, raised ground clearance and a new touchscreen infotainment system on the inside.
Additionally, the American carmaker recently joined hands with Mahindra to co-develop SUVs that will help Ford bridge the wide gap between the compact EcoSport (Rs 7.77 lakh) and the mighty Endeavour (Rs 26.06 lakh).
All prices ex-showroom, Delhi.
How domestic PV sales stack up
March 2018 (units)
March 2017 (units)
FY 2018 (units)
FY 2017 (units)