• OCTOBER 2, 1999

Car majors post record sales in September

Passenger car sales continue to be on the upswing in September, with most companies like Maruti, Hyundai and Daewoo posting record sales. This was reported in a leading financial daily.

Maruti's sales in September were up 13% (year on year), while cumulative sales in April-September 1999 appreciated by 18%. Maruti's brands maintained their lead over Hyundai and Daewoo, with both the Zen and the Maruti 800 posting strong sales growth.

Hyundai's (Santro) cumulative sales for the period April-September 1999, were up 82% to 31,849 units. Since its launch in October 1998, the Santro has sold over 49,000 vehicles, and is expected to breach the 50,000-level by the month end. (Daewoo (Matiz) and Tata (Indica) sales figures were not available.)

As small car sales pick up momentum, this segment is getting very competitive. Companies are battling on price as well as quality and they have realised that any let-up on either of these fronts will result in a loss of market share. In addition to the existing companies, others like General Motors (Corsa) have outlined plans to enter the small car market. Others like Honda are conducting feasibility studies before they take the plunge.

As more companies enter the small car segment, Maruti's position as the market leader will come under threat. The three existing companies (Daewoo, Hyundai and Tata) have already made a dent in Maruti's monopoly status. International car majors who enter this segment will have an edge as far as technology and funding is concerned. But their inexperience in dealing with Indian market conditions will see them struggle initially.

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