Dhanteras brings luck for struggling auto industry, deliveries see festive uptick

Dhanteras brings luck for struggling auto industry, deliveries see festive uptick

While car makers reported a 7-10 per cent uptick in sales in the Navratri to Dhanteras period, the sentiment in the two-wheeler industry remains comparatively downcast

Dhanteras brings luck for struggling auto industry, deliveries see festive uptick Dhanteras brings luck for struggling auto industry, deliveries see festive uptick

The auto industry, the worst hit by the ongoing slowdown, has successfully reversed the 11-month decline in sales during Navratri to Dhanteras period. Leading car makers, Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai saw sales spike 7 per cent and 10 per cent, respectively, compared to the same period last year, The Economic Times reported.

Typically, the 42-days festive period between Navratri and end of Diwali every year brings in about 25 per cent of industry volumes for cars and two-wheelers in India. In fact, at its peak, the month-long festive period would often see 3.5-4 times monthly sales, while double the monthly average of the year used to be normal. But last year, the industry witnessed its worst festive period in 5 years as retail sales of passenger vehicles fell 14 per cent for passenger vehicles and 12 per cent for two-wheelers.

"The absolute retails in Navratri and Dussehra were higher than 10-day festivities in the previous year and the momentum has continued for Dhanteras," Shashank Srivastava, executive director, sales and marketing, Maruti Suzuki, told the daily.

According to him, while there is much better sentiment in the marketplace, one can also say that market has revived only after seeing the momentum in the next few months. The country's largest car maker, which saw its market share dip by over 2 percentage points in the April to August period, delivered more than 60,000 cars in the 10 days from Navratri to Dussehra (October 8), exceeding 45,000 cars on Dhanteras (October 25).

In comparison, Hyundai delivered about 14,000 cars on the auspicious day, with total deliveries in the 10-day window numbering above 25,000. For both these players, with a 65-70 per cent share of the market, deliveries on Dhanteras exceeded the double-digit growth seen in the previous year. Meanwhile, Mahindra, the third-largest player, said in a regulatory filing that the auto division delivered close to 13,500 vehicles across the country on the same day, which as "substantially higher" year-on-year.

According to Hyundai Motor India national sales head Vikas Jain, although October saw a recovery compared to de-growth of 20-30 per cent over the past several months, the industry will "still be negative by 7-8 per cent". Nonetheless, he points out that good news is that all segments have moved up and growth was seen in both urban and rural markets.

The luxury end of the spectrum also fared well in the festive season. Mercedes Benz reportedly delivered more than 200 cars during Navratri and Dussehra in Gujarat and Mumbai alone, while Dhanteras deliveries stood at a "record" 600 pan-India. "The festive season has been satisfactory for us and we are glad to see an overwhelming response to our products from across markets. We are excited to see the response to the current GLE, which sold out three months ahead of the plan," Martin Schwenk, managing director and chief executive, Mercedes-Benz India, told PTI on Sunday.

New entrants Kia and MG Motors also delivered about 3,000 vehicles between them on Dhanteras. The sentiment in the two-wheeler industry, however, is more downcast -- although sales in October improved over previous months, there wasn't much of a festive surge to report. Hero MotoCorp and Bajaj Auto both reported that the market decline had been arrested over the past month and retail sales have moved into positive territory.

With PTI inputs