Sales of Maruti Suzuki India Ltd and Hyundai Motor India Ltd, India’s top two car makers, skidded in December as the demonetisation of high-value banknotes dented dispatches to their dealerships, the companies said on Sunday.
The launch of new-generation models of the Fortuner and Innova helped Toyota Kirloskar Motor Pvt. Ltd buck the trend. Other carmakers will release sales numbers on 2 January.
Automobile sales in November declined for the first time in 11 months as the government’s decision to ban high-value bank notes hurt demand.
In December, car market leader Maruti’s deliveries in the local market slipped 4% to 106,414 units as sales of its entry-level models, including the Wagon R and Alto, dropped 15.3% to 31,527 units from a year ago. Sales of compact car models, including the Swift, Baleno, Dzire and Ritz, fell 8.6% to 43,295 units.
Sales of the sedan, Dzire Tour, declined 29.2% to 2,559 units. Sales of the mid-size sedan Ciaz, however, rose 30.6% to 3,711 units. Maruti’s overall passenger car sales (excluding utility vehicles such as the Ertiga and Brezza) dropped 10.9%. Sales volumes were also dented because of fewer production days. Maruti shuts its plants every year for annual maintenance from 26 December to 1 January.
Sales at Hyundai, India’s second largest carmaker by volumes, dropped 4.3% to 40,057 units from 41,861 units a year ago, the firm said. Hyundai ended the calendar year with sales of 500,537 units, up 5.2% over the previous year.
Robust demand for the Innova Crysta and the new Fortuner helped Toyota’s sales rise 29% to 14,093 units from a year ago. It was the company’s best December in five years.
December is usually a high selling month for car makers, who try and liquidate year-end stocks and offer attractive discounts, said N. Raja, director and senior vice-president, sales and marketing. Crysta and Fortuner “received overwhelming response”, he said.
But Raja added the number of customer walk-ins and enquiries at dealerships had fallen since demonetisation.
“Although we saw a slight surge in footfalls and customer enquiries, the effects of demonetization will reflect until the first quarter of this year. We hope the New Year will bring in positive sentiments in the market,” he said.