Even as the Indian automotive industry continues to wade through challenging waters, the country's two largest car makers may be at the cusp of building on their strengths and increasing their respective dominance. Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai each has a strong product portfolio, robust sales and post-sales network and a reliable image that could help in a recovery that is quicker than that of its rivals.
According to a report in Mint, Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai have a combined market share of 68% and this could rise to 70% in times to come. Quoting industry executives, the report further explains that both companies have the capabilities to ramp up production faster than rivals in the eventuality of demand picking up in the country.
(Also read: Maruti stresses on phygital world | Hyundai's online sales platform takes off)
The role of demand from smaller towns and in rural markets is another crucial factor that could play into the hands of Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai. Speaking to HT Auto back in the first week of May, Shashank Srivastava, Executive Director (Sales and Marketing) at MSIL, had already predicted rural markets to chart the course forward and that a timely and adequate monsoon would come as a shot in the arm.
Monsoon's spread across India has been swift and sentiments in rural India are expected to turn positive. Little wonder then that for Maruti, rural markets have begun faring better than urban centers.
(Also read: Maruti sales in June | Hyundai sales in June)
Hyundai is also likely to benefit from this because it has a strong presence in Tier 2 and Tier 3 towns. Much like Maruti Suzuki, the Korean company has a garage-full of small vehicles that may become the flavour for the entire year.
Sales picked up for almost every car maker in the country in June. Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai led the way but the figures were still a far cry from the sales figures in June of 2019. With sales' volume in the passenger vehicles' segment expected to fall by between 22% and 25% in fiscal 2021, the road ahead may continue to be challenging but Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai could absorb the pressure better than the more circumspect competition.