India's largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki India Ltd on Tuesday reported a 27 percent decline in domestic passenger vehicle sales in September 2019 at 110,454 units against 151,512 units last year. There is however some glimmer of hope as sales have gone up 18.55 percent on a month on month basis from 93,173 units in August 2019.
The decline, for the eleventh straight month for the company and possibly also for the industry as a whole, was led by the entry level mini car segment which saw a 42.6 percent drop in sales last month at 20,085 units. This category consists of the company's bestselling model for the last 15 years, the Alto. Only on Monday, Maruti launched a new model S-Presso in this segment to shore up volumes. This is Maruti's first launch in the entry level category in close to a decade.
Compact segment sales for the company, that comprises brands like the new Wagon R, Celerio, Ignis, Swift, Dzire and Baleno, were down 29 percent at 77,264 units. Sale of the mid size sedan Ciaz declined 72 percent to 1715 units.
Utility vehicles bucked the trend somewhat, helped by new models like the Eriga and XL6, with a marginal 0.5 percent decline at 21,526 units while sale of vans declined 32 percent at 9,949 units. Its lone light commercial vehicle-Super Carry, saw a 0.4 percent growth at 2,046 units. Maruti's overall domestic sales that includes the Super Carry and the 2,952 units of the Baleno it supplied to Toyota during the month to be cross badged and sold as the Glanza, was down 24.8 percent at 115,452 units. Export volumes for the company declined 17.8 percent at 7,188 units.
Total sales for the company were down 24.4 percent at 122,640 units. September has been a peculiar month for the industry as sales had nearly comes to a standstill in the first half as customers postponed their purchases in anticipation of any potential GST cut on cars in the GST council meeting that was held on September 20.
The wholesale numbers reported by companies on the 1st of every month are dispatch figures that typically witness an uptick in the build up to the festive season every year.