Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) the country's largest car maker, sold 5,499 cars a day on average in April, taking domestic sales within kissing distance of 1,65,000 units. That's up 14.2 per cent year on year. This is the company's best-ever monthly sales performance in the domestic market, after the 150,521 units last September. The company's total sales last month, including exports, stood at 1,72,986 units.
However, not all cars in its stable are doing well. Its C-segment offering, Ciaz, which had managed to pip rivals like Honda City and Hyundai Verna in 2016, is fast losing traction. According to MSI, sales of the mid-sized sedan nosedived 27.2 per cent, to 5,116 units during the month under review. This is its eighth consecutive month of dipping sales.
With the entry of Toyota Yaris, which is playing up its top-notch safety and comfort features, the competition in this segment has only gotten fiercer. Alto, which was reportedly top-selling car in 2017, has also slipped marginally. The mini-segment car sales, including WagonR, witnessed a 2.8 per cent decline - from 38,897 units in April 2017 to 37,794 units last month.
The company statement further disclosed that sales of its utility vehicles, including Gypsy, Grand Vitara, Ertiga, S-Cross and compact SUV Vitara Brezza, has also stayed mostly flat at 20,804 units in April - going up a negligible 1 per cent year-on-year. So what's driving up sales for MSI? It has its compact segment to thank. The auto major said that sales of the compact segment comprising new Swift, Estilo, Dzire and Baleno jumped by 31.8 per cent to 83,834 units last month, as against 63,584 units in April 2017.
Meanwhile, sales of vans - Omni and Eeco - spiked 14 per cent to 15,886 units last month, up from 13,938 units in the year-ago period. MSI's exports in April were also up 19.1 per cent to a little over 8,000 units.
Loyalists have plenty to look forward to from the company in the near future. According to MSI Senior Executive Director, Marketing and Sales, R.S. Kalsi, MSI will introduce five new products over the next two years. Meanwhile, Chairman RC Bhargava recently announced plans to go full throttle to develop various kinds of alternate technologies, including CNG powered cars and hybrid vehicles - not just electric vehicles.
"We want to have clean cars in the country, we want to reduce oil import and we want to reduce pollution. Our objective is same as that of the government. For doing that we do not want to put all our hopes on battery cost reduction. We want to look at other alternate technologies as well," he said, adding, "Our view is to keep all options open, put all these options in front of customer and then let him/her decide what is best suited for his/her requirements."
With PTI inputs