Tata Motors once again surprised analysts with exceptionally strong sales numbers for December 2021, posting a whopping 50% jump in passenger vehicle sales for the month compared to December of 2020.
With this, the company’s passenger division has set a new yearly record by crossing the 3.31 lakh/year mark during the 2021. It also set new 10-year records for quarterly and monthly passenger vehicle sales.
In comparison, Maruti Suzuki, India’s biggest maker of four-wheeled passenger vehicles, reported a 13% decline in December domestic auto sales compared to the previous year, while Mahindra & Mahindra, another prominent domestic brand, reported modest growth of 10% in its domestic passenger auto sales.
However, the highlight of December 2021 auto sales once again continued to Tata Motors, which has been setting new sales records in recent months thanks to a revamped set of passenger vehicles.
The company’s passenger vehicle sales number for December 2021 came in at a whopping 35,299 units, up 50% from 23,545 over the same month of last year and even higher than the tally of 29,778 recorded in the preceding month (November 2021).
Generally, sales tend to decline in December, after rising in October and November due to festival offers.
This also means that Tata Motors has, at least for December, become the No.2 passenger vehicle manufacturer, after Maruti Suzuki. Hyundai, which traditionally holds the No.2 spot, sold only 32,312 passenger vehicles during the month.
Some of the out-performance during December could be attributed to the launch of Punch, an affordably priced cross-over mini SUV.
The company said its December performance was despite facing production issues due to the ongoing semi-conductor shortage.
It added that it saw “overwhelming” demand for Punch, as well as a sharp increase in sales of electric vehicles.
EV sales hit a record of 2,255 units during December — the first time it’s crossed the 2,000 mark — taking the total for the Oct-Dec quarter to 5,592.
Electric vehicles accounted for no less than 6.4% of the company’s total passenger vehicle sales during December.
“The ever-increasing demand for Nexon EV and Tigor EV as well as progressive revival of the EV fleet segment were instrumental in driving this steep growth,” it said.
“Going forward, semi-conductor supplies will remain the key source of uncertainty. Additionally, the impact of the new strain of Covid needs to be closely tracked. We will continue to work on business agility plan and take proactive actions to mitigate these risks,” it added.
Commercial vehicle sales continued to remain solid, though they did not exhibit the kind of growth shown by the passenger vehicles division.
Total CV sales were up 4% on year at 34,151.
MAHINDRA & MAHINDRA DECEMBER SALES
Mahindra & Mahindra, which had been facing some challenges in defending its market share in the utility vehicle segment, also seemed to have stabilized its sales, with UV sales up 9% on year at 17,469 during December.
However, its sales growth was a far cry from what Tata Motors has been reporting in recent months.
“We have seen growth in business segments including Passenger Vehicles, Commercial Vehicles and International Operations, owing to continued strong demand across the product portfolio. The issues around semi-conductor related parts continue to be a challenge for the industry and remains a major focus area for us,” the company said.
Maruti Suzuki continued to face headwinds in its domestic sales, reporting a 13% decline to 1.26 lakh in December from 1.46 lakh in the same month of 2020.
The only passenger sub-segment that saw an increase during the month of December was that of Utility Vehicles, which saw domestic sales increase to nearly 27,000 from 25,701.
All others — including mini, compact, sedan and van — saw year-on-year declines during the month. The biggest fall was seen in the smallest, mini segment, where sales fell to 16,320 from 24,927 last year.
This could be attributed to a ‘high base effect’, given that small cars were selling more in the immediate aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic due to a rush for affordable, personal transportation.
However, sales of bread-and-butter compact segment — which includes Dzire, Swift and Celerio — also fell by around 10% to 69,345 from 77,641 last year.
Maruti Suzuki’s comparatively poor performance can be attributed to a slow-down in rural demand as well as increased competition from Tata Motors, and to some extent, from other brands such as Kia and Renault.