Car sales down 22% in April, Toyota sole OEM to register growth | Autocar Professional

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Growth, it seems, is not going to come in a hurry for the passenger car segment, which comprises hatchbacks and sedans, in India. The segment, which saw an 11.4% YoY decline to 1.54 million units in FY2024, has opened FY2025 with sales of 110,452 units in Apil 2024, a YoY decline of 22% (April 2023: 142,017 units.

As per the wholesales numbers (read vehicle dispatches to dealers) released by apex industry body SIAM today along with estimated data for Tata Motors, all but one of the eight hatchback and sedan manufacturers have seen a double-digit sales decline in their April 2024 dispatches, which is reflected in the sea of red in the data table (below).

Maruti Suzuki, the bellwether of the Indian passenger vehicle industry, had witnessed flat sales in the first month of FY2025. Its April 2024 wholesales of 137,952 units indicate zero percentage growth (April 2023: 137,320 units). Combined sales of the two budget Alto and S-Presso hatchbacks at 11,519 units were down 18% YoY (April 2023: 14,110 units).

Similarly, there was a decline in demand for the seven-model hatchback range of the Baleno, Wagon R, Swift, Celerio, Dzire, Tour S and Ignis: the 56,953 units sold in April 2024 are down 24% YoY (April 2023: 74,935 units). And the sole premium Ciaz sedan saw demand fall 15% YoY to 867 units (see data table below).

Like the overall PV industry, sustained demand for most of Maruti Suzuki’s SUVs and MPVs have saved the blushes for the company. Utility vehicle sales of 56,553 units in April 2024 constituted strong 54% year-on-year growth and accounted for 41% of the company’s overall passenger vehicle sales. This is possibly the highest in a single month.

It’s a similar scenario for Hyundai Motor India. Of the total 50,201 PVs it sold in April 2024, car and sedan sales comprised 16,413 units, down 27% (April 2023: 22,397 units) while Hyundai’s UV sales were 33,788 units, up 24% (April 2023: 27,304). Year on year, Hyundai’s share of car sales to its overall PV dispatches has reduced to 33% from 45% in April 2023. In contrast, the UV share of PV sales has jumped to 67% from 55% in April 2023.

Of the 11 models it retails 11 models in India, Hyundai has two hatchbacks (Grand i10 Nios, i20), two sedans (Aura, Verna) and seven SUVs (Creta, Venue, Alcazar, Exter, and Tucson along with the all-electric Ioniq 5 and Kona). As per the latest SIAM data, the Grand i10 Nios, i20 and the Aura sedan together sold 14,842 units last month, down 19% YoY (April 2023: 18,396 units). Dispatches of the sixth-gen Verna sedan at 1,571 units were down by a sizeable 61% (April 2023: 4,001 units), likely due to inventory already having built up in showrooms across India.

While Tata Motors model-wise sales data is not available, industry estimates put the company’s passenger car wholesales for April 2024 at 14,095 units, down 13% YoY (April 2023: 16,259 units). Tata’s PV range comprises three cars – Altroz, Tiago and the Tigor – and four SUVs (Nexon, Punch, Harrier and Safari).

Toyota Kirloskar Motor, which retails two models – the Glanza hatchback and the Camry sedan – is the sole carmaker to register growth in April 2024, albeit on a much-lower base than the three OEMs ahead of it. While the Glanza sold 4,380 units, up 20% (April 2023: 3,653 units), the premium Camry saw dispatches of 179 units, up 184% YoY (April 2023: 63 units).

Honda Cars India, which is back in the SUV ‘game’ with the Elevate midsize SUV, dispatched a total of 2,620 cars – 2,693 units fewer than it did a year ago – which is a 51% sales decline for April 2024. Of this total, the Amaze sedan accounted for 1,796 units, down 47% (April 2023: 3,393 units) and the City did 824 units, down 57% (April 2023: 1,920 units).

Skoda Auto India’s April 2024 wholesales were 1,266 units, down 26% (April 2023: 1,707 units). They comprised 1,253 Slavia sedans, down 21% (April 2023: 1,586 units) and the 13 units of the premium Superb sedan, down 89% (April 2023: 121 units).

Volkswagen India dispatched 1,183 units of its Virtus sedan in April 2024, down 20% YoY (April 2023: 1,481 units).

Renault India’s April 2024 tally was 977 units of the entry-level Kwid hatchback, down 10% on year-ago sales of 1,082 units

Trading places: In FY2013, hatchbacks and sedans had a 70% share of the passenger vehicle market while UVs had 21%. In FY2024, the car share of PVs has plunged to 37% while the UV share has soared to 60 percent.  

THE RISE AND RISE OF UVs AND THE DECLINE OF CAR SALES
Delving deep into 10-year PV sales data reflects the extent of how much demand for passenger cars and sedans has fallen while contrastingly the graph of utility vehicles has soared, and that of vans has halved.

In FY2015, which saw sales of 2.6 million PVs, hatchbacks and sedans had a 72% share and the UV segment 21 percent. A decade later, the scenario is starkly different and the two vehicle categories have traded places — the share of hatchbacks and sedans in FY2024’s record 4.21 million units has plummeted to 37% while that of UVs has jumped to 60 percent.

Car and sedan sales were at their highest in FY2019 — 2.21 million units — accounting for 66% of the PV market when the UVs share was 28% (941,474 units).

Between FY2015 to FY2020, cumulative sales of hatchbacks and sedans at 12.09 million units were ahead of the UV segment’s 4.71 million units (47,10,061) units in the six-year period. However, since then the surging demand for UVs has meant that they have outpaced the hatchback and sedan market by a mile and more. The FY2021 to FY2024 period saw total UV sales of 7.07 million units compared to 6.30 million hatchbacks and sedans.

While UVs have displayed high double-digit growth in the past four fiscals, the car market has witnessed its sales fall at a rapid rate with double-digit percentage declines in FY2023 and FY2024. Will FY2025 be very different and see a revival of demand? From the wholesales in the opening month of the new fiscal, there’s still a long way to go.

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