Shrinking demand for small hatchbacks – Maruti Suzuki’s bread-and-butter – is one of its biggest concerns, according to the chairman of India’s largest automaker.
Sales in the hatchbacks segment dropped more than 25 per cent to 11.5 lakhs in the financial year that ended in March 2022, from 15.5 lakhs in FY18-19, Chairman R C Bhargava lamented.
Maruti raised its hatchback prices by as much as 32 per cent in that period.
Higher raw material costs in the last three years have forced Maruti and other automakers to raise prices and that drove a lot of low-end customers out of the market.
Many people are no longer able to afford a personal vehicle or a four-wheeler, the company said in a post-results press conference.
The price hikes helped Maruti offset the high input costs and return a consolidated profit of Rs 1,876 crore for the fourth quarter ended March 2022, up 51 per cent from Rs 1,241 crore in the year-ago period, according to a regulatory filing.
Maruti sold 4,88,830 vehicles during the quarter, 0.7 per cent lower than a year earlier, with domestic market sales declining 8 per cent and exports rising to their highest ever in any quarter.
The persisting semiconductor shortage continued to hurt supplies as the company had as many as 2,68,000 customers waiting for their orders until March-end. This number has gone up to 3,00,000 this month, said Bhargava.
“We do not see this number being liquidated till the end of this year,” he said.
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