FEATURE: INVESTIGATING INDIA – THE WORLD’S FASTEST GROWING CAR MARKET: INDIA’S NEW CAR SALES CONTINUE TO RISE

India has overtaken Germany as the fourth-largest global automotive market, with passenger and commercial vehicle sales crossing the 4 million unit mark for the first time in the 2017-18 financial year.

Total sales, including two-wheelers and three-wheelers, reached almost 25 million units.

The Indian retail automotive industry grew by 9.2 per cent in 2017-18. A sales report from the Society of Indian Automotive Manufacturers shows a major surge across all segments in the country’s automotive domestic sales and exports.

The Indian financial year runs from April to March. In this period the passenger vehicle market grew by 7.89 per cent, with sales of 3.28 million vehicles in April-March 2018.

As in Australia and other countries growth was led by SUV sales, with a 20.97 per cent increase on the previous year’s figures. Sales of passenger cars and vans grew by 3.33 per cent and 5.78 per cent respectively over the same period last fiscal year.

It is, however, not all good news. Small cars and SUVs are the major growth drivers of the industry but mid-sized segment growth has been negatively impacted by a shrinking sedan segment. Large car growth is led by the Toyota Innova but the rest of the segment is either stagnant or declining. This is attributed to rising fuel prices and input costs.

Except for sub-4m sedans, every other sedan segment is in decline mode. Growth of sub-4m is led by the Maruti Dzire followed by the Honda Amaze. The mid-size sedan segment is latest victim of the rise of compact SUVs.

The Indian new car market is dominated by one manufacturer – Maruti Suzuki – which in 2017 accounted for half of all new passenger vehicle sales. Its 1.33 million sales from January to September 2018 makes up 52 per cent of all new car sales in India and represents an 11 per cent rise on last year’s figures.

Hyundai is number two, with 412,199 sales from January to September 2018, up 5 per cent from the same period last year.

Third is Mahindra, with 175,089 sales in the same period, ahead of Tata with 164,957 (up 35 per cent) and Honda with 134,527. The top ten are rounded out with Toyota (116,203, up 12 per cent), Ford (76,485, up 9 per cent), Renault (61,905, down 29 per cent), Volkswagen (29,146, down 21 per cent) and Datsun (27,140, down 13 per cent).
Jeep is knocking on the door of the top 10 with a 190 per cent rise in sales to 14,823. Skoda (down 2 per cent), Nissan (down 36 per cent), Fiat (down 79 per cent) and Mitsubishi (down 26 per cent) have all seen their sales fall this year.

India’s two-wheelers sales registered a growth at 14.80 per cent in April-March 2018 with the sale of over 20 million vehicles. Within the two-wheelers segment, scooters and motorcycles grew by 19.90 per cent and 13.69 per cent respectively, while moped sales went down by 3.48 per cent in April-March 2018 over April-March 2017.

As for the commercial vehicle segment, total sales grew by 19.94 per cent during April-March 2018. The Medium & Heavy Commercial Vehicles segment saw a growth of 12.48 per cent while the Light Commercial Vehicles segment grew by 25.42 per cent during the same period. The three-wheelers segment saw a growth of 24.19 per cent in April-March 2018 over the same period last year.

As for production, the industry produced a total of more than 29 million vehicles including passenger vehicles, commercial vehicles, three-wheelers, two-wheelers and quadricycles during April-March 2018. The industry registered a production growth of 14.78 per cent compared to the 25.3 million vehicles made during April-March 2017, over the same period last year.

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