New fiscal, old story for auto cos as sales slide
Maruti sales fell by 13%; only Ford, Hyundai and Honda bucked the trend with new launches
The domestic automobile industry started the new financial year on the backfoot, with most major car manufacturers reporting a decline in sales in April over last year.
Market leader Maruti Suzuki saw sales fall by 12.6%, its worst decline in a month since August 2012, when a lock out at its factories resulted in a 35% fall in sales.
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The fall was despite company's claims that it has received good response for its recently launched small car, the Celerio, which is sold out for the rest of the year.
Others did not fare any better. Utility vehicle major Mahindra and Mahindra (M&M) reported a 12.5% decline, while Toyota Kirloskar Motor, which was grappling with labour unrest at its factory in Bangalore, saw a 20% lower demand for its vehicles.
"It is unfortunate that the auto industry has not seen an upturn over the last couple of months in spite of a reduction in excise duty," said Pravin Shah, chief executive, automotive division, M&M. "We do hope that after the general elections, sentiments improve."
The only companies that bucked the trend were those that launched new cars in the recent past, such as Hyundai, Honda and Ford. The Korean carmaker reported an 8.8% growth in sales while Honda and Ford sales grew by 30% and 66% respectively.
"While the market remains challenging, success of the new City and Amaze shows that there is always scope for the right product to do well," said Jnaneswar Sen, senior vice-president, marketing and sales, Honda.