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|December 31, 1999||
The Rediff Business Special/The most dynamic industry in 1999
Passenger car, mobike segments drive automobile segment
Fuelled by recovery in the passenger car segment and continued upswing in the motorcylcle sector, the automobile industry picked up speed in the domestic market, but exports moved on the reverse gear during 1999.
Total sales in the industry grew by 10.57 per cent during the first eleven months of 1999 at 4.189 million units against 3.788 million vehicles during the corresponding period of the previous year. The industry had risen by 6.14 per cent the previous year.
Many feel that the industry will accelerate further, riding on the likely growth of the car segment in the coming years.
Exports fell by 10.73 per cent during the first eleven months of last year. Exports this year was even less than 173,971 units witnessed during 1997.
Despite being ''overcrowded'', the passenger car market bounced back, witnessing a 32.98 per cent growth at 479,484 units during the first eleven months of this calendar year. The segment declined by 3.87 per cent last year at 360,556 vehicles.
Maruti Udyog Limited continued to be the numero uno in this segment though its share has considerably come down over the years.
Sale of MUL vehicles grew by 11.59 per cent at 355,903 during January-November period compared to 318,931 units during same months of the previous year.
The growth rate was as low as 2.2 per cent the last year. However, MUL's share in the total passenger car market industry came down to 74 per cent from 88.45 per cent the previous year.
On the other hand, the Hyundai Santro is closely behind the Maruti Zen. While the difference between the two cars was merely 131 units in October, it increased to 925 units due to ''supply constraints'' in Hyundai Motor India Limited's plant near Madras.
Investment rating firm ICRA has predicted that the passenger car market is expected to grow by 11 to 15 per cent anually in the next three years with the small car segment driving the growth.
In fact, growing market size is leading to entry of new models with some multinational corporations announcing entry into the Indian market and the existing companies diversifying their portfolio. Maruti offered customers choice of two models in each segment.
While market leader MUL came out with the Baleno in the top-end of the segment and has unveiled the Wagon R in the Zen segment, HMIL launched the Accent in the premium segment. Ford India Limited has also introduced the Ikon in the premium segment and General Motors unveiled the Corsa in the same category.
MUL has set a target of selling 10,000 units of the Baleno and 50,000 to 60,000 units of the Wagon-R next year, while around 12,000 units of the Accent are expected to be sold. FIL expects to sell around 20,000 Ikons in the coming year, while GM is eyeing 12 to 15 per cent of the expected 50,000 to 55,000 lower-end mid-size car market.
At present, the country has 1.25 million units of installed capacity against demand of 0.65 million vehicles. Even then, new models are being planned for the next year. While MUL will come out with Alto, Skoda Auto will roll out the Octavia and Toyota of Japan will launch the Qualis through its joint venture with Kirloskar Systems.
The multi-utility sector continued to be in a slump. Sales in the sector fell by 0.45 per cent at 106,097 units against the decline of 17.41 per cent the last year.
Motorcycle segment continued to grow at 26.48 per cent at 1.492 million against 1.179 million the previous year. The segment recorded a 21.88 per cent growth the previous year. Another two-wheeler segment, scooters, however slid by 5.51 per cent at 1.135 million units against 1.201 million vehicles the previous year.
Sales of scooters rose by 5.61 per cent during the first eleven months of 1998. Witnessing the same trend, mopeds went down by 8.32 per cent at 632,417 units against 634,864 vehicles the last year. The sector moved up by 11.42 per cent the last year.
Medium and heavy vehicles also made a turnaround by witnessing 56.55 per cent growth this year at 100,110 units against 63,945 vehicles the previous year. This category, in fact, fell by 42.42 per cent last year.
Light commercial vehicles and three wheelers recorded a slight recovery. While light commercial vehicles inched up 1.32 per cent at 52,403 against the drop of 18 per cent the previous year, three wheelers moved up by 0.87 per cent at 191,163 compared to a fall of 11.79 per cent.
OTHER YEAR-END REPORTS
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