Smaller truck manufacturers Volvo Eicher (VECV) and Mahindra & Mahindra were able to show a better turnaround in their December auto sales in India compared to bigger peers and market leaders Tata Motors and Ashok Leyland, with Eicher reporting particularly strong numbers.
For example, in heavy duty trucks, Volvo Eicher led the growth with a 30.5% jump in December sales by selling 1,282 trucks.
Similarly, in Mahindra’s Medium & Heavy Duty segment, the company was able to post an 8% improvement in its sales to 584 units in December, compared to 541 last year.
In the third place in terms of growth in this category was Ashok Leyland, which reported a 4% increase in its medium and heavy truck sales to 6,137 from 5,928.
Tata Motors, India’s largest maker of commercial vehicles, was the only one to post a decline in the category sales, at 8,106 trucks in the medium & heavy category compared to 8,377 in December of last year, an erosion of 3% on year.
Volvo Eicher, which is the only one that breaks out Heavy and Light-Medium truck sales separately, also saw impressive growth in the medium-size category by posting a 23% jump in the LMD category at 3,541 units sold in the month.
In terms of buses, all the three manufacturers were able to see strong growth, but Ashok Leyland was clearly above the other two.
Ashok Leyland saw a 151% jump in bus sales to 615 units, while Tata Motors posted an 84% increase in its passenger CV sales — which includes both buses and vans — to 1,380 from 751.
Volvo Eicher, which sells the Volvo branded buses in India, saw slower pick up in its heavy duty bus segment compared to the light and medium segment.
Light and medium bus sales improved by 83% on year, while the sales of heavy duty buses were up only 58%. This is likely because VECV’s heavy buses are nearly all air-conditioned and luxury models that are used for inter-city travel.
In comparison, both Ashok Leyland and Tata Motors get a much smaller percentage of sales from the AC category. Most of their buses are used as stage carriers or ‘line buses’ for intra-city travel.
The within-city travel segment has picked up much better than the long-distance travel after the COVID shutdown, though both continue to remain affected by virus transmission concerns.