The country's leading carmaker Maruti Suzuki India recorded 2.4 per cent year-on-year rise in car sales at 133,296 units in India during December. A major reason for the rise has been attributed to a higher demand for compact models such as New WagonR, thereby offsetting a slump in smaller cars. Maruti had seen a 3.3 per cent drop in sales in November.
In a statement to the stock exchanges, Maruti Suzuki India said it sold 124,375 vehicles in the domestic market in December, compared to 121,479 vehicles sold in the same month a year back. After including exports and sales to other original equipment manufacturers (OEM), the firm clocked a 3.9 per cent rise in sales to 133,296 vehicles, the company said.
Mini cars comprising products like Alto, S-Presso and Old WagonR saw sales drop 13.6 per cent to 23,883 pieces. However, the compact category, which includes cars like New WagonR, Swift, Celerio and Dzire, saw nearly 28 per cent rise to 65,673. Mid-sized Ciaz saw a 62.3 per cent drop in sales to 1,786, while utility vehicles sale rose 17.7 per cent to 23,808 units. During April-December, Maruti's domestic sales had dropped nearly 17 per cent at 1.1 million units.
Maruti Suzuki India, which had posted a 2.3 per cent increase in sales in October breaking a series of seven straight months of decline, fell in November posting a 3.3 per cent drop in its passenger vehicle sales over the last year. The company dispatched 139,133 units to its dealerships across the country last month against 143,890 units in October last year. In absolute terms, this was Maruti's highest sales in any month this fiscal.
India's automobile industry is bracing itself for a unique challenge in the first quarter of 2020 when the transition of BS-IV to BS-VI emission norms has to be made at the stroke of midnight on March 31, 2020. No BS-IV vehicle could be sold from April 1, 2020, which means automakers would have to reduce their inventory on BS-IV models to zero by then. The exercise is likely to see companies show extra caution in dispatching cars to dealers in the next few months, which may cause a continuation of the decline in wholesale numbers.