For the first time in the last few years, sales of diesel vehicles have dropped below 50 per cent in Europe and the Indian market is mirroring a similar image with customers shifting to petrol and market leaders gaining the most from the change.
Diesel car sales have dropped to 44 per cent in April, the lowest in a decade and Maruti Suzuki that entered the market with its iconic Swift hatchback as late as 2006 posted a double digit gain of 10.6 per cent to 113,162 units sold in the domestic market and another 9,872 units exported last month.
Maruti resumed production of vehicles at its Gurgaon facilities after a three day gap hit by irregular component supplies and has gained immensely on the spectacular demand for Brezza, its new SUV coincidently sold only in diesel. Otherwise core of its sales are coming from petrol and CNG models like Alto, WagonR and Omni for the past few months.
South Korea's Hyundai Motors stood closer to the leader with a 10.4 per cent gain last month to 41,351 units in May 2016. "In a challenging market of stressed rural demand and uncertainty on diesel vehicles, Hyundai continued its positive growth momentum on the strengths of strong performance of the three Indian 'Car of the Year' brands Creta, Elite i20 and Grand i10 as the expectations of a good rains has improved sentiments during the otherwise lean monsoon season," Rakesh Srivastava, Senior Vice President-Marketing & Sales, Hyundai Motors, said.
In the same league was French Renault, one of the fastest growing automotive companies in India, registered an astounding growth of 132 per cent with monthly domestic sales of 8,343 units in May 2016 over 3,601 units sold in the corresponding month last year. The sales remain robust on strong demand for its Kwid hatchback that enjoys waiting period of around 6-7 months and has booking backlog of over 1 lakh cars from customers.
Mahindra, India's leading SUV manufacturer, sold 19,635 units in May 2016 as against 18,135 units during May 2015, a growth of 8 per cent. Its cumulative exports in May grew 21 per cent to 4,043 units.
Commenting on sales, Pravin Shah, President & Chief Executive (Automotive), M&M said, "We are happy to have achieved an overall growth of 11 per cent during May 2016, in the midst of regulatory uncertainties. The favourable monsoon projections will definitely lead to improved buyer sentiment that would likely bring buoyancy in overall demand across all segments of the automotive industry. Going forward, we expect that our wider product portfolio will drive our growth. The upcoming e-Verito launch, on June 2, will add a new and innovative product to our EV range."
Honda Cars India, a leading manufacturer of premium cars, registered monthly domestic dip of 26 per cent to 9,954 units sold in May 2016 against 13,431 units in the corresponding month last year. Honda also exported a total of 651 units during May 2016.
Abdul Majeed, Partner, Price Waterhouse said that positive sentiments are helping vehicles sales to grow across the segments, except uncertainty around diesel vehicles, other indictors look positive and will support the growth this fiscal year. "New launches will drive the growth in the passenger car segment. Sudden shift from diesel vehicle to petrol vehicle will put a lot of pressure on supply chain ecosystem," he said
Other companies like Volkswagen, Toyota, Nissan and Skoda are expected to release their sales data on Thursday.