December auto sales fall below expectations even as Tata Motors, M&M post strong growth

December auto sales fall below expectations even as Tata Motors, M&M post strong growth
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  • December was a mixed month for auto sales as changing customer preferences and subdued global economic conditions played a part.
  • Tata Motors continued its drive upwards while the market leader Maruti Suzuki reported a decline in both domestic sales as well as exports.
  • In the two-wheeler space, Hero MotoCorp, Bajaj Auto and TVS Motor reported a huge dent in exports.
December auto sales was a mixed bag as several factors like falling small car sales, subdued economic conditions in foreign markets and more, impacted dispatches during the month.

This is in stark contrast to the euphoria seen in November 2022 where festive mood mixed with upcoming winter wedding season drove sales by over 25% year-on-year to 23.8 lakh units. While analysts did expect auto sales to skid sequentially, many top automakers’ sales also declined annually.

“In December 2022, passenger vehicle volumes are likely to be higher YoY, though volumes would be lower MoM due to production constraints. Further, tractor volumes are likely to be better on a YoY basis but decline MoM due to seasonality,” said a report by Emkay Research.

Analysts however expected sales to go up on a year-on-year basis due to the low-base effect. Yet, the actual sales for the month came in lower on both counts. Two wheeler sales however were slower due to delayed rural recovery, as both Hero MotoCorp and Bajaj Auto posted numbers below analyst expectations.

Even in dire circumstances, Tata Motors continued its drive upwards with an overall growth of 10% in its total domestic sales, led by passenger vehicle sales. Market leader Maruti Suzuki however reported a subdued month yet again with a decline of 9% as customers continued to stay away from small cars – as its sales fell 4% – that’s much worse than analyst expectations.


However, the growth in sales of Tata Motors and M&M also came below expectations. Analysts at Emkay expected Tata Motors to post a 25% growth in volume, and M&M to post a 64% increase.

CompanyDomestic salesChange (YoY)ExportsChange (YoY)
Maruti Suzuki1,17,551-10%21,796-2%
Tata Motors72,99710%995-68%
Hero MotoCorp3,81,3652%12,814-37%
TVS Motor1,62,61010%79,402-23%
Bajaj Auto1,48,5552%1,32,931-39%
Ashok Leyland17,11249%1,0260.1%

Source: Companies, change compared to December 2021

Tata Motors’ passenger vehicle sales continue to surge

Tata Motors continued on its growth trajectory with its domestic vehicle sales surging 10% during December 2022 when compared to December 2021.

“For Tata Motors passenger vehicles, CY22 has been a momentous year as we outpaced industry growth and crossed the distinctive milestone of 5 lakh units comfortably to post wholesale of 526,798 units,” said Shailesh Chandra, managing director, Tata Motors Passenger Vehicles.

However, like its peers, Tata Motors too felt the pinch of an economic slowdown in foreign markets, with its commercial vehicle exports falling 68% while domestic CV sales increased 6.3%.

Maruti Suzuki’s customers are shunning small cars

India’s largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki’s customers have continued to shun small cars like Alto, Baleno, Swift and others in the mini, compact and mid-size segments. The total sales in these three segments fell to 68,421 units in December 2022, from 86,869 units in December 2021.

On the other hand, its utility vehicles like Brezza, Ertiga, Grand Vitara and others witnessed growth, with sales touching 33,008 units market in December 2022 from 26,982 in December 2021.

Exports witnessed a marginal decline to 21,796 units, from 22,280 units a year ago. “The shortage of electronic components had some impact on the production of vehicles, mainly in domestic models,” the company said in its exchange filing.

Mahindra & Mahindra reports growth across all segments

While most other companies reported a mixed month, Mahindra & Mahindra reported growth across all segments. Its sales in the passenger vehicles segment surged 61%, while exports inched up 3%.

“Continuing interest from our customers have led to strong demand across our portfolio in December 2022. We have seen growth of 61% in our passenger vehicles and a 45% overall growth,” the company said in its release.

Hero MotoCorp, Bajaj Auto, TVS Motor report faltering exports

In the two-wheeler space, Hero MotoCorp, Bajaj Auto and TVS Motor reported major declines in exports, ranging from 23-39%. The incumbents Bajaj and Hero also reported only marginal increases in their domestic sales, which grew 2%.

In comparison, TVS Motor, currently the second largest Indian two-wheeler company in terms of sales, reported a healthy 10% increase powered by the sales of its electric scooter iQube – the company revealed 11,071 units of the iQube were registered in December 2022, as against 1,212 units in December 2021.


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