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Corporate Jan 1, 2013

Buyers give tepid response to two wheelers, sedans

By Sindhu Bhattacharya

New Delhi: Two wheeler sales have begun to slow down over the last few months, a clear indication that the slowdown has now percolated to the rural and semi-urban markets.

Though Hero MotoCorp said today it has dispatched 5,41,615 units last month, a slight increase over 540,276 units it dispatched to dealers in December last year, an increase in dispatches gives no indication of the offtake from dealerships unless retail numbers are known.

The only other two wheeler company to report sales today, TVS Motor, did not do well even with dispatches, which fell to 151,735 units against 167,905 units in December 2011.

Challenging times.

Hero's senior VP (marketing & sales) Anil Dua said in a statement, "Being the last month of the calendar year, December usually witnesses sluggish retails as customers tend to postpone their purchases to the new year. Despite that, we have been able to dispatch over five lakh two-wheelers during the month. We also have comprehensive marketing and customer engagement plans lined up for the remaining months of the fiscal to maintain this trajectory."

TVS said that though overall dispatches were down year-on-year, motorcycle dispatches grew by 6 percent to 60,210 units (56,662 units). Its scooter sales which suffered the most, at 30,398 units (44,804 units).

Not just two wheeler companies, large car makers such as Hyundai Motor India also reported sluggish domestic dispatches. Hyundai managed to show moderate overall growth in dispatches only on a slight increase in export numbers, domestic sales remained subdued. It dispatched 26,697 units (29,516 units) in the domestic market while exports were 21,136 units (19,534 units).

Even Toyota Kirloskar Motor reported slowing dispatches at 12,071 units (15,948 units), a decline of 24%. Besides, it exported 1,490 units of Etios series last month.

Sandeep Singh, Deputy MD and COO (marketing & commercial) said, "Though we are satisfied with the overall growth in our sales volume of last year, the passenger car market continues to be slow, as has been in the last few months .We hope the New Year will usher in good times again with economic revival and better market sentiments."

But for Ford India, success in exports and its annual midnight sale in the domestic market helped matters. Domestic dispatches were 6,517 vehicles (5,978 vehicles ) units. Exports rose to 4,382 cars last month-the highest-ever-and more than double the number in December of 2011 at 1,685 units. Year-to-date exports stand at 30,435 - up 35 percent from last year.

Even Honda Siel Cars reported higher dispatches, thanks to the small car Brio. Its domestic dispatches were 4,242 units last month against 1,072 units in December last year. The Brio alone accounted for more than half the dispatches at 2,286 units.

by Sindhu Bhattacharya

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