© Reuters. Cars are parked at the Maruti Suzuki factory in Manesar in the northern state of Haryana, India August 11, 2019. Picture taken August 11, 2019. REUTERS/Anushree Fadnavis/File Photo
BENGALURU (Reuters) – Sales of sports utility vehicles (SUVs) rose in December, while sales of small cars fell despite steep discounts, data from Indian automakers showed on Monday.
If entry-level vehicles remain a burden for car manufacturers, they have benefited from sales of high-end vehicles, aimed at a wealthier population largely spared by inflation.
Maruti Suzuki and Mahindra & Mahindra reported domestic SUV sales growth of 24% and 39%, respectively.
The SUV segment of Indian automakers has enjoyed strong demand over the last year.
Mahindra, which makes SUVs such as the Thar, Scorpio and exercise.
SUV sales have accounted for 36% of Maruti’s domestic passenger vehicles (PV) so far this fiscal, up from 22% in the previous fiscal, while accounting for almost all of PV sales from Mahindra.
The end of the year, when automakers typically offer deeper discounts, coupled with low demand for entry-level vehicles, has prompted Maruti to increase discounts on its models by 40-45% cheaper.
However, sales of its small cars like the Alto and Baleno were down 29%. This was also partly due to Maruti’s moderation in wholesale sales.
Among two-wheelers, Bajaj Auto’s domestic sales jumped 26%, helped by strong sales of its entry-level motorcycles in the first half of the month.
Bajaj and other two-wheeler makers benefited from the wedding season that took place in the first half of the month, analysts said.
Strong demand for Triumph motorcycles manufactured by Bajaj also contributed to the volume growth.
Tata Engines (NYSE:), TVS Motor and India’s leading two-wheeler maker Hero MotoCorp will release their monthly sales data later today.