Auto sales sustain growth in February 2024

Indian automakers continued to report a steady rise in sales in February, helped by demand for two-wheelers and utility vehicles, monthly sales data from companies showed.

Indian automakers continued to report a steady rise in sales in February, helped by demand for two-wheelers and utility vehicles, monthly sales data from companies showed.

According to industry estimates, 3.73 lakh units of PVs were dispatched during February this year, as against 3.55 lakh units in February 2023, a growth of 11%.

Retail sales for PVs are estimated at 3.35 lakh units in February, when compared to 3.01 lakh in the corresponding month of last year, again a growth of 11%. Shashank Srivastava, Senior Executive Director- Marketing & Sales, Maruti Suzuki, said, “February 2024 is the 14th straight month of highest-ever wholesales, starting from January 2023.”

February 2024 is also the third month of highest wholesales this year, after 3.94 lakh units dispatched in January 2024 and 3.91 lakh units October 2023, he added. According to Srivastava, the PV inventory with the dealerships stands at about 3 lakh units now, ranging around 25 to 26 days of vehicle stock in the industry.

Following an improved supply of vehicles, industry experts express caution on inventory pile-up in dealerships. For the April-February period, PV dispatches stand at 38.59 lakh units, again to 35.53 lakh units during the same period last year, a growth of 9%. Srivastava estimates that the PV segment is expected to record 42.1 lakh unit sales during FY 2023-24, as against 38.9 lakh in FY 2022-23, marking a year-on-year growth of 8%.

The following is a segment-wise report of vehicle dispatches during February 2024.

Passenger vehicles:  Driven by a demand for SUV models, all the OEMs reported their dispatches in green. Market leader Maruti Suzuki dispatched 1.60 lakh units in the domestic market during February, marking a YoY growth of 9%. SUVs now account for a little over 50% of the overall sales in the industry.

Srivastava of Maruti Suzuki noted that the growth in the rural sector remains slightly higher than the urban growth. “This trend is likely to continue as we see a sharper increase in rural incomes, infrastructure spending and a near normal monsoon. Although the food inflation continues to be high, the overall sentiment is positive.”

“While the output from the rabi sowing season is yet to be seen, the kharif output has been 4.5% less when compared to last year. In some states, the sentiment in rural areas may be less positive, but overall, the demand remains strong,” he said.

In February, Honda Cars India Ltd. registered monthly domestic sales of 7,142 with a strong growth of over 17% in comparison to the corresponding month last year. The export numbers for HCIL stood at 5,936 units in Feb’24. This is the highest ever monthly export volume clocked by the company that has been fuelled by strong export performance of cars made in India and exported to multiple global markets.     

Mr. Yuichi Murata, Director, Marketing & Sales, Honda Cars India Ltd. said, “Our performance in February has been as per our plan. The Honda Elevate maintains its strong performance, further strengthening its presence in the market. The Honda City and Amaze also continue to perform well in their respective segments. In addition, our export performance has also been robust.”

For February, Tata Motors moved up to the second place at 51,267 unit sales over Hyundai, which has been the second-largest carmaker in the country for years now.

Sabari Manohar, Vice President (Sales-Service-Used Car Business), Toyota Kirloskar Motor, said, “We continue to witness rising demand coupled with good customer enquiries from across the regions. Notably, the SUV and MUV models are at the forefront of this demand surge.”

For MG Motor India, 33% of its sales comes from electric vehicles (EVs). The company said it is gearing up to work on “potential logistics issues due to disruption in global shipping as a consequence of various international events.”

Two-wheelers:  Wholesales for all the two-wheeler makers grew double digit YoY, except Royal Enfield. Market leader Hero MotoCorp reported a growth of 16% in its volumes to record 4.45 lakh units during February, up from 3.82 lakh sold in the corresponding month of last year.

“The volumes in the month of February indicate the continuously improving consumer sentiments and the company expects the positive trend to continue in the coming months, on the back of favourable economic indicators,” Hero MotoCorp said.

During the month, the two-wheeler maker started sales of its recently launched motorcycle Xtreme 125R and launched the Mavrick 440, deliveries of which are to begin in April. This comes in line with its strategy of expanding the premium product portfolio. Hero said it is in the process of scaling up the volumes of Harley-Davidson X440 and Mavrick 440 by the middle of this year.

In February, Suzuki Motorcycle India said it completed the production of one million units, fully utilizing its plant’s annual production capacity in less than a year. The company sold 83,304 units in the country during the month.

B Govindarajan, CEO, Royal Enfield, said, “As we come to the close of the financial year, we are confident of a strong and healthy overall performance, and believe that we can continue this momentum for the next year as well.”

According to an analysis by Elara Capital, electric two-wheeler high speed scooter registrations in February 2024 was up 24% YoY. “This year Feb had one extra day, boosting the growth to a certain extent.” However, when compared with January 2024, it was flat at 81,963 units.

Commercial vehicles:  Market leader Tata Motors reported a 4% YoY drop in dispatches to 33,567 units in February 2024. All the vehicle categories were in red, except the passenger carriers. During February 2024, Tata’s SCV cargo and pickup recorded 13,701 unit sales, followed by HCV trucks at 10,091 units, L&MCV trucks at 5,083 and passenger carriers at 4,692.

Similarly, wholesales for Ashok Leyland also witnessed a dip of 6%.