Maruti Suzuki and Hero MotoCorp, market leaders in the car and two-wheeler segments, respectively, have both recorded strong performance this festival season, even as most rivals saw sluggish growth.
Maruti, which saw flat growth in terms of wholesales in October at 96,062 units, in fact recorded a 10% jump in retail volumes to 1.20 lakh units during the festival period, which started with the Navratras on October 13 and continued till Diwali on November 3. Wholesales reflect despatches to dealers from the manufacturing plant, but retail numbers are a better metric of market demand because they reflect actual sales to customers from the dealer.
Maruti COO (marketing and sales) Mayank Pareek told FE that sales volumes this festival season was among the three top highest-ever numbers for the company.
After a long time we are very happy. Last year, the festival season had started just after the strike, so the base for last year had been high because of pent-up demand. To now show a 10% growth on that this fiscal is great. Petrol cars are doing much better than diesel and as usual the bulk of our growth came from the Alto, WagonR, Swift and Dzire, Pareek said.
Pareek added that because retail numbers for the period was higher than October wholesales earlier announced on November 1, the companys inventory has now come down by about 24,000 units.
At three weeks of stocks, we are comfortable today. The inventory is far below the five weeks we saw during shradh. We expect this to increase a bit by end-November, but if the sales keep pace we may not have to cut output, Pareek said. Incidentally, Maruti also has a planned week-long maintenance shut down at its two plants in December that will help it in controlling inventories by reducing output.
Maruti follows Hero MotoCorp, which had announced 18% jump in wholesales of bikes and scooters at a record 6.25 lakh units in October on the back of strong rural demand after a good monsoon. Heros retail sales in the last month stood at 6.5 lakh units, to which it added a further 1.1 lakh units on a single day Dhanteras (November 1).
Hero senior VP (marketing and sales) Anil Dua said, While we exceeded our best-ever despatch sales for any month by a huge margin, at the same time, our retail sales which is a real barometer of customer response