Maruti Suzuki reported for April one of the worst set of auto sales numbers in recent quarters, with total sales falling by a whopping 17.2%.
All passenger vehicle categories, except the Utility Vehicle segment that includes Ertiga, showed declines.
Utility vehicles reported a year-on-year increase of 5.9% to 22,035 units. The segment also includes the successful Vitara Brezza — India’s largest selling compact utility vehicle.
Added to the Brezza’s numbers were those of the new Ertiga. Ertiga 2019 has managed to shake off the boring and boxy looks of its earlier version, and now appears more like a utility vehicle and less like a car with an extended backside. Maruti Suzuki, however, did not specify how many Ertigas it sold in April.
As for other models, of particular concern is likely to be the 13.9% decline seen in the bread-and-butter compact segment, which includes cars like Swift, Dzire, Baleno and Celerio.
This segment, which contributes over half of Maruti Suzuki’s overall sales, was supposed to show a decent increase due to the addition of WagonR numbers.
Maruti had moved WagonR to the ‘compact’ segment from the mini segment three months ago as it as made the car bigger and added a bigger engine.
Despite this, total compact car sales were down at 72,146 units compared to 83,834 units in the year-ago period.
The reason for the big dip in sales is not clear. However, it is not unusual for numbers to show some fluctuation at the beginning of a financial year due to changes in regulatory and tax laws.
TOYOTA MARUTI SALES
April also marked the beginning of the sales of vehicles to Toyota. A total of 364 cars have been sold by Maruti Suzuki in April to another ‘original equipment maker’ or OEM, likely to be Toyota Kirloskar Motors.
Maruti and Toyota have previously announced a tie-up under which India’s largest car maker will either sell finished cars to Toyota for rebranding, or allow Toyota to manufacture some of its models.
The first model to be sold under the partnership is Baleno, which will hit the showrooms as Toyota Glanza.
Glanza will be practically identical to Baleno in terms of basic looks and features, but the service and support aspects will be taken care of by Toyota.
Toyota’s pricing strategy is also not clear, but the tag for Glanza should be somewhat similar to that of Baleno.
It is also not clear if Toyota will add new features and accessories to its version, though it seems likely.
Toyota has a reputation for building higher quality, if more expensive, cars compared to Maruti Suzuki. It remains to be seen how it intends to differentiate the Glanza from the Baleno.
Toyota Glanza is expected to start selling next month.