Carmakers made the most of a shaky 2014

Carmakers made the most of a shaky 2014

With the curtains going down on 2014, carmakers have lots to rejoice about, as they look forward optimistically at the coming 2015, heralding newer trends in a booking market, supported by fresh launches and new customers.

Indeed, the year 2014 was a mix of disappointment and joy for the car market. When the market, as usual, encountered a rocky road, a spurt in the number of car launches ensured that the customer sentiment remained intact, and the market be abuzz with new machines to rave about, and manufacturers are keen to take the latter trend going forward.

According to Bengaluru-headquartered Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM) Director and Senior Vice-President (Sales and Marketing) N Raja, “The last year (2014) has been a tough year with a slowdown in the market. Despite new launches across segments we are present in, we continued to hold and gain leadership position. The Innova and Fortuner were undeterred by new launches in the segment and continued to be segment leaders. This year we have also substantially improved in customer satisfaction and strive to improve further.”

Toyota, which did not share its sales/growth figures, is expecting to register better growth in December when compared to the corresponding month last year, it said in its statement.

Japanese auto major Honda Cars India (HCIL) is expecting a growth of over 62 per cent in its sales in India, this year, at around 1.8 lakh units. Honda had sold 1.11 lakh units in 2013.

“The year 2014 was a very successful year for Honda as it continued its growth journey for the third consecutive year,” HCIL Senior Vice-President (Sales and Marketing) Jnaneswar Sen said in a statement.

India’s largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) is all set to post record sales this calendar year, with volume increasing about 13 per cent from 2013.

Its market share in the domestic passenger vehicle segment is expected to be the highest ever at nearly 45 per cent in the current fiscal year, which ends in March.

Previous record

MSI Chairman R C Bhargava said that further expansion is expected in the passenger vehicle market share, given the growing competition. This calendar year, the company is expected to sell 11,48,000 vehicles. The previous record was in 2010, when it sold 10,60,000 units. Maruti has posted strong sales numbers despite the market remaining sluggish, it stated.

A slew of new launches and facelifts kept the car market going in 2014, with customers have more options to choose from.

Maruti, a name to reckon with in the hatchback segment, launched the Celerio and Alto K10 facelift, introducing Indians to the concept of automatic manual transmission. Besides, it rolled out the much-awaited luxury sedan, Ciaz.

Network expansion

The midsize saloon Honda City received a makeover in 2014, while HCIL also launched multi purpose vehicle Mobilio.

Honda also expanded its dealership network during the year and crossed the milestone of 200 dealers in the country in November 2014.

South Korean auto major Hyundai Motor India rolled out compact sedan Xcent and the elite i20, the winner of Indian Car of the Year (ICOTY) 2015, while homegrown Tata Motors launched the peppy compact sedan Zest, and also unveiled latest hatchback, Bolt, sparking a revival for the beleaguered company. Meanwhile, Mahindra & Mahindra launched the facelifted Scorpio.

Toyota launched the 11th generation of the new Corolla Altis and introduced Toyota’s first ever crossover in India – Etios Cross, apart from variants and limited editions of Etios, Etios Liva and Innova, in keeping with the demands of the customers. Fiat rolled out the snazzy compact crossover Avventura.

Even luxury segment players such as Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi and Lamborghini left no stone unturned when it came to expanding their portfolios.

With renewed zeal, carmakers are positive about 2015. “The industry is expected to come back on track putting an end to the prolonged slowdown next year. Sustained demand for cars, new models, low fuel prices and an expected decline in the interest rates are expected to facilitate the revival next year,” Raja concluded.

 

NEW CARS OF 2015

Company          Model
Maruti          Celerio/Ciaz
Hyundai           Xcent
Tata                  Zest
Honda             Mobilio
Fiat               Avventura

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