Maruti crawls. Hyundai, GM race ahead

Thursday 21 February 2008, 00:00 AM by Satish

A steep drop in the sales of Maruti 800, and slow growth in the A2 segment (which includes Alto, Swift, Wagon R, Zen) has resulted in India’s largest car maker Maruti Suzuki India (MSIL) growing by a paltry two per cent in January, one of lowest in this financial year.

Analysts point out that the steep fall in the sales of Maruti 800 could have been propelled by the launch of Tata’s 1 lakh car, Nano, at the start of this month.

Arvind Jain, auto analyst, Religare Institutional Research, said, “The effect of Nano’s launch, expected around September/October, may have added to the drop in sales of M800 and the slowdown of Alto last month. It is still very early to say exactly how much the impact has been and a real picture will emerge around October.”

Maruti sold about 63,459 units in January compared with 62,248 units in the corresponding month last year in the local market. However, the sales of Maruti 800 declined by 22 per cent to 5,470 (compared with 7,021 last year).

Similarly, the A2 segment only grew by 3 per cent during the same period, selling 45,957 vehicles. However, between April 2007 and January 2008, the Maruti 800 segment declined by 14 per cent, while the A2 segment grew by 18 per cent. Maruti officials were unavailable for comment.

Meanwhile, Korean car maker Hyundai posted a robust growth of 39 per cent in the local market during the same month on the back of strong demand for the newly-launched small car - i10. The company claims to have already sold 25,000 units of the car since its launch in October last year.

It sold 24,301 units in the domestic market compared with 17,460 units sold in the corresponding month of the previous year. Exports grew by 45.6 per cent to 13,400 units.

H S Lheem, MD, Hyundai Motor India (HMIL) said, “We are absolutely delighted by these figures and we believe it shows the strength of the brand. We are also doubling the production capacity to 600,000 units per annum by inaugurating the second plant tomorrow in Chennai. This will have a capacity of 300,000 units per annum and cater to the increased market demand for Hyundai vehicles in India and overseas.”

General Motors, which owns the Chevrolet brand, grew by 46 per cent, selling 5,517 units in January compared with 3,776 units in the same period last year. Utility vehicle Tavera sold 1,391 units, Aveo sedan 1,174 units, Optra 217 units, Spark 2,639 units and the recently-launched SUV Captiva 96 units.

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