Maruti Suzuki India reported a whopping 31% jump in its September auto sales, while Mahindra & Mahindra reported a more modest increase of around 5% in its passenger vehicles. The commercial vehicles division continued to struggle with low demand.
Unlike Maruti Suzuki, which benefited from higher sales of its smaller cars, Mahindra & Mahindra’s performance was dragged down by both is commercial vehicles division, and the fact that it focuses on pricier, utility vehicles segment in the passenger space.
At around 10%, Maruti Suzuki too had seen a slower growth in its utility vehicle sales numbers compared to those of its small cars (35%-40%).
M&M’s overall passenger sales numbers rose only 4%, as sales of cars and vans, which have been flagging for some time, fell 59% to 194 units from 475 units last year.
UV sales — which increased their contribution to about 99% of the total passenger vehicle sales — rose 6% in September at 14,664.
The bigger blow came from the commercial vehicle space.
While the overall numbers were flat at 18,907, this was primarily because of an increase of 578 in the number of very light commercial vehicles (less than 3.5 ton in carrying capacity).
Other segments in the CV category continued to be under stress, which is not good news as they generate far more by way of revenue and profit than the very light CVs.
Not surprisingly, three-wheeler sales were down 92% as auto-rickshaws struggle to find passengers.
Including both CVs and passenger vehicles, total domestic sales were down 16%.
M&M’s tractor sales were up 18% in India to 42,361, while exports rose 6%, continuing the strong performance seen in recent weeks.
“Retail demand continued to be buoyant backed by a very good monsoon,
higher kharif acreage and continued government support, including higher MSPs for key crops,” said Hemant Sikka, President – Farm Equipment Sector for M&M.
“We are looking forward to a very robust demand for the festive season ahead. In the exports market, we have sold 1,025 tractors, a growth of 6% over last year.”
The company sold 1.60 lakh vehicles during the month, up from 1.23 lakh units last year. On average, the company used to sell around 1.3 lakh vehicles per month before the COVID-19 lock-down was imposed.
However, Maruti Suzuki said the sudden increase in growth rate should be seen in the context of the relatively low base of 1.23 lakh vehicles recorded last year.
The company is also expected to have benefited from the ‘pent up demand’ as well as the need for personal transportation, given the heightened risks associated with public transportation during a viral pandemic.
“The performance has to be seen in the context of lower base of September 2019,” it said.
Out of the 1.6 lakh total sales, 1.5 lakh was in the domestic market.
Exports too reported a modest growth of 9% during September compared to last year.
Growth was particularly strong in the small and compact car segments, with the mini segment reporting a 36% jump — one of its best in recent years — and the compact segment — which includes most of the company’s cars — reporting a 47% jump.
The utility vehicle division, which tends to be a better reflection of consumer confidence and the return of purchasing power, saw a 10% increase in numbers.