Maruti Suzuki reports flat October auto sales as SUV slows

Maruti Suzuki, India’s largest car maker, reported flat sales for October.

Total sales, including exports, came in 1.47 lakhs versus 1.46 lakhs last year, rising just 0.2% on year.

Domestic sales did slightly better than exports as they were up 1.5% at 1.38 lakh.

Exports, on the other hand, fell 17% on year to 8,666 units.

The performance was equally lackluster across the board.

The only notable trend among the models was that the SUV segment, which includes high-selling model Vitara Brezza, reported a decline of 11.2%.

Maruti Suzuki sold 20,764 units of SUVs in October 2018 versus 23,382 in the same month last year.

Besides Brezza, the category includes S-Cross, Ertiga and Gypsy. It is not clear whether the slowdown was in Brezza — in which case it would be a concern — or in the others.

After seeing strong sales numbers in the first month, sales of the new model of Ciaz again fell back to the mean, coming at 3,892 units in October. It had racked up bookings of over 10,000 units in its first month of launch in August.

The medium-sized car category — the bread and butter of Maruti Suzuki — saw a modest growth of 3.7% to 64,789 units.

Though decent compared to the performance of other segments, this is nevertheless on the disappointing side, given that it has refreshed its popular Swift and Dzire models recent.

In fact, for the six months before October, the category had seen an average growth of around 22% compared to the year before.