Maruti Suzuki reported better numbers as part of its January Auto Sales performance compared to recent months, with India sales declining only 7% compared to the same month of last year.
This is comparatively better than its performance in recent months.
In November, for example, its domestic passenger vehicle sales fell by a whopping 19% to 109,726 units. In December too, sales of Maruti Suzuki PV sales in India fell 13% to 1.26 lakhs.
Compared to this, it was a minor decline in January this year, with India passenger vehicle sales falling to 1.29 lakh from 1.39 lakh a year ago.
While this is definitely not good news for the company, it shows that its efforts to claw back market share may be starting to yield results.
The company first saw a sharp decline in its sales when it was hit by semiconductor shortages around September, and has since been struggling to get its numbers back up.
However, as of December, it had said that most of its semiconductor related troubles were over.
The second factor that has been hurting Maruti Suzuki has been the sudden upsurge in the sales of old-time rival Tata Motors, and competition from the likes of Kia.
Tata Motors, for example, sold over 40,000 passenger vehicles in January, a record for the company.
Unlike Maruti Suzuki, which saw a dip in its sales trend, Tata Motors saw a whopping 51% jump in its January sales compared to the same period of last year.
The trend becomes more obvious when considering that Tata Motors used to sell around 15,000-18,000 passenger vehicles in India around two years ago, and has grown steadily since then even as the market leader has lost territory.
It remains to be seen if Tata Motors’ growth is coming at the cost of Maruti Suzuki’s sales, or whether the current dip in Maruti’s sales is attributable to other factors that can be reversed.
On top of this, India’s car market has also become more competitive, with several smaller players, such as Kia Motors and Renault Nissan, launching very competitive products at price points that used to be traditionally dominated by Maruti Suzuki.
As far as January numbers are concerned, the decline in sales was accounted for by the compact car segment — which contains models such as Baleno, Swift, Celerio and Dzire — and the mini segment, which comprises the Alto and S-Presso.
There was a decline of around 6,500 in the mini segment, and a decline of around 5,500 in the compact segment.
Sales of utility vehicles jumped by almost 3,000 units, while those of Eeco vans were up around 1,000 units.
Sales to Toyota India also rose by around 1,700 units (see chart), while exports rose to almost 18,000 from around 12,500 last year.