The ups and downs of the year 2011

Wednesday 28 December 2011, 15:24 PM by

2011 has not been an unpredictable year for the Indian automotive industry that became vulnerable to deep-rooted slowdown during the mid-months of the year. Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) has envisaged a 4% to 6% growth in the car industry, during 2011-2012 that lags behind drastically from the double figure rise witnessed in 2010.

However, the present scenario suggests that car makers including Hyundai Motor are recuperating well in the market. Hyundai managed to sell 35,000 units during November, allowing the company to hold on to its 2nd position in terms of monthly performance, surpassing Tata and closely following Maruti. The bird's eye view suggests that things are still moving ahead though at a slow pace, owing to skyrocketing interest rates and weakening value of rupee against dollar. Moreover, the revision of petrol prices at regular intervals hurt the consumer sentiment severely.

The year 2011 witnessed the introduction of a number of new vehicles in the Indian market that hailed from a wide range of manufacturers. Big launches to the likes of Toyota Etios, Nissan Sunny, Skoda Rapid, Maruti Kizashi and a revamped Swift deserve a special mention. In addition, 25 new models including those by luxury market leaders BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi contributed immensely in resurrecting the auto sector.

For India's largest car maker, Maruti Suzuki, the year so far has been dominated by labour disputes and fierce competition that has forced the company to turn each and every stone in its quest to remain afloat. For the company, the new version of Swift infused much needed life as the car received over 35,000 bookings, though amidst continuous resistance from employees.

Hyundai is gradually raising the bars; however, its much-awaited Eon has not lived up to the expectations at the outset. Against the sales of 12,000 units foreseen for Eon, the car maker managed to receive bookings for just 7,500 units.

Mahindra & Mahindra has been a consistent performer which has counted on its two stalwarts, Bolero and Scorpio, for favourable outcomes. As a matter of fact, besides the launch of its powerful XUV500 in September, M&M sold-off 8,000 vehicles during November. It must be noted that the SUV received an overwhelming response from the Indian buyers.

Skoda too rode high during most parts of the year, with the launch of Rapid in October being the main highlight for the car maker. The initial month following the start of Rapid's delivery saw 950 units disseminate from the showrooms.

Thus, the current situation prevailing in the Indian market needs to be studied with utmost precision before any plan is drafted, as a sudden change in trend is always there on the cards.

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