January car sales: Maruti, Tata Motors slip, Hyundai grows marginally

As expected, January has not augured well, at least for two big car makers. Maruti Suzuki India reported its first overall sales decline in five months despite posting record high domestic dispatches as exports fell sharply.

Maruti sold 114,205 total vehicles (115,433 vehicles), a 1.1 percent decline. Local sales were up 2 percent but export declined by a whopping 22 percent, affecting overall numbers.

Reuters

Car makers have been facing tough times as customers continue to defer purchases. Reuters

And Tata Motors reported more than a 50 percent decline in dispatches of passenger vehicles to dealerships at 15,209 units against 34,669 units in January 2012.

Only Hyundai Motor India managed to grow marginally in the domestic market and in double digits on the export front. Sales were up 4.25 percent rise at 52,024 units (49,901 units). Domestic sales were up only 1.19 percent but exports grew almost 11 percent to 17,722 units (16,001 units), helping overall numbers.

Car makers have been facing tough times as customers continue to defer purchases due to higher borrowing costs and rising fuel prices. Though the Reserve Bank has reduced borrowing rates by 25 basis points this week, car sales are unlikely to get a boost but so small a rate decrease. Almost 7 in 10 cars are bought on credit in India and car makers say that till auto loan rates do not fall below double digits, sales growth will remain a challenge.

For January, Toyota Kirloskar Motor dispatched 23.37 percent less vehicles in the domestic market at 13,329 units (17,395 units). During the month, the company exported 1,791 units of Etios series to South Africa , and hence the total sales registered in January this year stood at 15,120 units.

Deputy managing director and COO (marketing and commercial) Sandeep Singh said, "The market is still witnessing a slowdown, especially the passenger car segment. The prospects for the second half of 2013 look better. The repo rate cut (by RBI) is a welcome step."

Ford India 's dispatches declined 34.05 percent to 7,115 units (10,789 units). Ford's Executive Director (Marketing, Sales and Service) Vinay Piparsania wants a policy boost for growth in vehicle sales.