Passenger vehicle market leaders Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai on Saturday reported a decline in wholesales in December 2021, although homegrown majors Tata Motors and Mahindra & Mahindra reported growth, amid semiconductor shortage continuing to impact production.
Other manufacturers Nissan and Skoda also reported an increase in December 2021 sales although Honda Cars India witnessed a decline last month.
The country's largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) reported a 4 per cent fall in wholesales to 153,149 units in December 2021 as against 160,226 units a year ago.
Its December 2021 domestic sales slipped 13 per cent to 130,869 units as against 150,288 units in December 2020.
"The shortage of electronic components had a minor impact on the production of vehicles during the month.
"The shortage primarily affected the production of vehicles sold in the domestic market," MSI said in a statement.
The company said sales of mini cars, including Alto and S-Presso, fell 35 per cent to 16,320 units, against 24,927 a year ago.
Similarly, sales of the compact segment, including models such as Swift, Celerio, Ignis, Baleno and Dzire, slumped 11 per cent to 69,345 units as against 77,641 cars in December 2020.
However, utility vehicle sales, including Vitara Brezza, S-Cross and Ertiga, rose five per cent to 26,982 units as compared with 25,701 vehicles in the year-ago month, the company said.
The auto major reported a 13 per cent y-o-y growth in wholesales in 2021 as it dispatched 13.97 lakh units to dealers during the period.
It had dispatched 12.14 lakh units in 2020.
In an interaction with PTI, MSI senior executive director (marketing and sales) Shashank Srivastava said the company is optimistic about business in 2022 with pending orders alone stretching to over 2.3 lakh units.
However, there are still question marks regarding the state of the economy and the semiconductor shortage issue, Srivastava stated.
The second-largest player Hyundai Motor India Ltd reported a drop of 26.6 per cent in the total wholesales to 48,933 units as against 66,750 units in December 2020.
The company's domestic dispatches dropped 31.8 per cent to 32,312 units as against 47,400 units in the same month last year.
"We are entering 2022 with cautious optimism. There are more positives than negatives and we are looking to a better year with so much of the customer booking backlog.
"Besides, our product line-up is refreshed," Hyundai Motor India director (sales, marketing and service) Tarun Garg noted.
The company's total dispatches rose 21.6 per cent in 2021 to 635,413 units as compared with 522,542 units in 2020.
Contrary to the two top players, homegrown auto major Tata Motors reported a 50 per cent jump in total PV sales to 35,299 units in December 2021.
It had sold a total of 23,545 units a year ago.
Tata Motors president (PV business unit) Shailesh Chandra said the company's personal vehicle (PV) business growth journey continued and set several new milestones during the quarter ended December 2021 "despite witnessing a shortfall in production due to the ongoing semiconductor crisis".
"Going forward, semiconductor supplies will remain the key source of uncertainty. Additionally, the impact of the new strain of COVID-19 needs to be closely tracked," he said.
Another homegrown player Mahindra & Mahindra also reported a 10 per cent rise in its domestic PV sales at 17,722 units last month, against 16,182 units in December 2020.
"We have seen growth in business segments, including PVs, commercial vehicles and international operations, owing to continued strong demand across the product portfolio," M&M CEO (Automotive Division) Veejay Nakra said.
The issues around semiconductor-related parts continue to be a challenge for the industry and remains a major focus area for the company as well, he added.
Nissan Motor India Ltd also reported over two-fold jump in domestic wholesales in December 2021 to 3,010 units for its two brands Nissan and Datsun.
It had wholesales of 1,159 units a year ago.
Nissan Motor India Ltd MD Rakesh Shrivastava said the firm has been able to grow its sales in spite of the challenges of COVID-19 and semiconductor shortages affecting supplies.
"Going forward, with the support of the supply chain, our endeavour will be to maintain this growth momentum for the upcoming months," he said.
Skoda Auto India also reported growth in December 2021 wholesales to 3,234 units as compared with 1,303 units in December 2020.
"Despite the headwinds in the form of the pandemic and supply constraints that plagued the industry and economy at large, we have achieved triple-digit growth in our annual sales volumes," Skoda Auto India brand director Zac Hollis said.
Honda Cars India Ltd (HCIL) reported an eight per cent dip in its domestic sales at 7,973 units. It had dispatched 8,638 units in the domestic market in December 2020.
The company, however, said its domestic wholesales in 2021 grew 26 per cent to 89,152 units as against 70,593 units in the January-December period in 2020.
"The year 2021 continued to be a challenging year with the ongoing pandemic but I think we learnt to cope much better with it.
"Despite the COVID-led and supply-side challenges, HCIL domestic volume grew by 26 per cent in CY21 with a strong performance of our best sellers Amaze and City," HCIL director (marketing and sales) Yuichi Murata said.
Another carmaker MG Motor India also reported a 43 per cent increase in retail sales in 2021 at 40,273 units.
It sold 28,162 units in 2020.
On the outlook, MG Motor India President and MD Rajeev Chaba said, "We foresee the situation will remain fluidic due to unpredictable factors – Omicron threat, global semiconductor shortage and inflation risk – due to increase in material cost.
"However, resilient demand trends give us a reason to assume cautious optimism."
Photograph: PTI Photo