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Vizag car dealers witness an uptrend in Q1 sales

Adi Singh

Visakhapatnam: The start to this new fiscal has been quite encouraging for the car industry in particular. With the previous two fiscals seeing dismal performance in terms of growth, the passenger car segment is seeing sales increase and a sense of optimism returning.
Factors such as the reduction in excise duty initiated by the previous UPA government in February this year which was supposed to end in June this year got further extended by the current NDA government to Dec 31st2014 hence giving a much needed impetus to the auto industry. This coupled with a stable government at the centre, strengthening customer sentiment are some of the factors that are being attributed to the revival in the auto sector.
The city of Vizag too has seen most its car dealers regain growth. While the passenger car sector in Vizag on a whole is estimated to have grown by 25%, market leader Maruti continues to roar with sales noticeable increasing during the period April’14-July’14 as compared to the same period last year.
‘Vizag and its surrounding areas such as Srikakulam and Vizianagram have seen an upward trend in car sales.  Maruti as a group has grown by 20% in comparison to last year’ says Mr Prabhu Kishore, CMD, Varun Motors, one of the bigger Maruti Suzuki dealers in this region.
Attributing the larger share of growth going to the Maruti Suzuki family he says that last year was tough wherein there was a de-growth of 11%. One of the major factors Mr Kishore identifies for Maruti’s astounding success is its lowest TCO (i.e. total cost of ownership) in the industry. TCO he explains is a prime indicator of how much a customer spends on the car including its maintenance, cost of repair, insurance, service, dealership network, resale value of car etc.
Mr Kishore further highlights the fact that Maruti’s market share has gone up from 40% to 44% during this period and informs that Maruti as a group is targeting a growth of 15% yoyfor this fiscal.
Albeit a distant second from the market leader in terms of volumes Hyundai too has seen its sales increase. Its recently launched Excent in April has given a fillip to their sales and with the all new i20 launched this month Hyundai expects its sales to further enhance. ‘Most of our models are in great demand and our customers have a liking for it’ says Mr. David Raju of Lakshmi Hyundai, Vizag.
However a crucial segment that could be a concern for Hyundai is its total absence in the low cost SUV segment. Clarifies Mr Venkat Raju Goli, MD, Mango Hyundai ‘Soon Hyundai will be launching SUV’s which will directly compete with the likes of Renualt’s Duster, Ford’s Ecosport etc.’ he says.
Japanese car maker Honda on the other hand has seen sales sky rocket. ‘We have had a growth of 60% compared to last year’ says a visibly proud Mr Damodar, Business head, Sundaram Honda, Vizag. Honda till a few years ago was the only major player in India not having a diesel variant among its models. This had certainly affected their sales in the country keeping in mind the penchant of Indian customers for diesel cars.
The introduction of Amaze diesel in 2013 and then the City diesel variant dramatically changed our growth trajectory and since then there has been no looking back says Mr Damodar.
Last month the company launched its 7 seater Mobilio and roped in India’s popular comedy star Kapil Sharma as its brand ambassador. Though it’s still early to talks about the response inquiries have been good says Mr.Damodar.
American car maker Ford has also seen a growth in sales in the early part of this fiscal. ‘There has definitely been an increase in our sales compared to the same period last year’ says Mr V Madan Kumar of Tristar Ford, Vizag.
However not all have witnessed growth bounce back, French car maker Renualt was one of the few dealers in this region that had better numbers last year. It has seen sales dip by more than 40% this year. ‘We were doing 80-90 cars per month last year however this has drastically come down to 50-60 cars a month in this period says Mr Sushant of Renault, Vizag.
He says that the upcoming Duster 4×4 which is slated to be launched in the last week of September/early October this year could well see many takers.
Similarly Tata motors has too seen a decline. Sales have dropped by about 40% this quarter compared to last year says Mr Arvind Kumar of SRMT Tata Motors, Vizag.
After a long hiatus Tata motors recently launched a new product ‘Zest’ on the 12th of this month. Talking on Zest, Mr Arvind highlights the ‘Revotron’ petrol engine with a turbo charger which the newly launched Zest comes with. ‘No other car manufacturer in India has this feature’ says Mr Arvind.
Well there is no denying the fact that overall passenger car sales have certainly shown signs of revival since the beginning of this fiscal. Nationally too the number of Passenger vehicles sold between the periods April’14 to July’14 was 814,757 which is a growth of 2.53% over the same period last year.  And with the festive season yet to begin car manufacturers/dealers have all reasons to believe that ‘Ache Din Aane wale hain’(Good days are yet to come)!
(aditya@viscan.in)

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