India’s leading car maker Maruti Suzuki India Ltd has also become the third largest maker of utility vehicles in the Indian market, displacing Tata Motors Ltd.
Led primarily by the sales of multi-utility vehicle (MUV) Ertiga, the share of the local unit of Suzuki Motor Corp. in the UV or utility vehicle segment increased eight times to 16.7% in the two months ended May, according to the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers, or Siam.
Maruti’s other models in the segment include the Gypsy and Grand Vitara. The company’s cumulative sales for the month of April and May in the segment surged 10-fold to 13,327 units against 1,317 units a year ago. The model has a waiting period of six to eight months.
Rising demand: Workers at Maruti’s Manesar plant. Led by the sales of the Ertiga, Maruti’s share in the utility vehicle segment increased eight times to 16.7% in the two months ended May.
Since the launch of the Ertiga in April, with which the company aims to create a new segment, Maruti has sold more than 12,000 units of the model and has to deliver another 30,000 against bookings, said Mayank Pareek, chief operating officer, marketing and sales, at Maruti Suzuki.
Against the original plan of 5,000 units a month, the company is producing 6,000 Ertigas and plans to ramp this up further, Pareek said.
Maruti has also been shipping completely knocked-down (CKDs) kits of the model to Indonesia, where there is a waiting period of two to three months for the vehicle. Without quantifying export volumes, Pareek said there are no plans of curtailing exports, even as Maruti is finding it difficult to meet domestic demand for the model.
Joseph George, analyst at IIFL Institutional Equities, said he expects Maruti’s market share in the UV space to stabilize at 13%. According to him, when a company is riding off a healthy order book and operating at 100% capacity, market share tends to get bloated. Even as sales for rest of the models in the market remain muted till the festive season kicks in, George doesn’t expect Ertiga sales to come off in the near future.
The seven-seater Ertiga competes with the Mahindra Xylo and Toyota Innova among others.
“All the utility vehicle makers have lost market share because of Maruti,” IIFL’s George said.
Market leader Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd saw its share in the segment drop to 49.31% from 56.64% in the first two months of the fiscal while Toyota Kirloskar Motor India Pvt. Ltd increased its share to 20.08% from 14.90% a year earlier.
Meanwhile, market share of Tata Motors, which used to be the third largest in the pecking order, has slipped to 7.87% from 13.02% from a year earlier. The Mumbai-based firm’s sales of utility vehicles contracted to 6,267 units in the two months to May from 6,866 units a year earlier. According to Siam’s classification, the company’s UV segment includes the Sumo, Grande Sumo, Safari, Xenon and Aria models.
But unlike Siam, the company itself also includes the Venture, its seven-seater van in the UV segment.
“Our UV sales have been consistently growing,” said the Tata Motors spokesman. According to the monthly sales numbers released by the company, Tata Motors’ cumulative UV sales for the first two months of the current fiscal rose 3% to 7180.
Pareek, meanwhile, cautioned that if the government goes ahead with its plan of levying additional cess on diesel vehicles, it will affect demand. “All the hope is on diesel now,” he said, referring to the rising inventory of petrol models at all the auto makers.
Even as high petrol prices, weak economic sentiment and the steep cost of borrowing dissuaded car buyers from purchasing vehicles, sales of utility vehicle models such as the revamped Toyota Innova, the Mahindra XUV500 and the Ertiga—90% of which are fuelled by diesel—continued unabated.
While passenger car sales during the period expanded merely 3% to 331,580 units from a year ago, UV sales expanded 51% to 52,725 units.
Source: Maruti becomes India