Maruti posts third consecutive drop in monthly sales

TOKYO/SEOUL Thu Sep 1, 2011 7:07pm IST

A worker adjusts the windscreen wipers of a parked car at a Maruti Suzuki stockyard on the outskirts of Ahmedabad September 1, 2011. REUTERS/Amit Dave

A worker adjusts the windscreen wipers of a parked car at a Maruti Suzuki stockyard on the outskirts of Ahmedabad September 1, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Amit Dave

Related Topics

TOKYO/SEOUL (Reuters) - New vehicle sales in Japan plunged by more than a fifth in August as production remained disrupted from the March earthquake, while South Korean brands kept growing thanks to solid gains overseas.

Excluding 660cc minivehicles, sales in Japan dropped 25.5 percent to 216,510 vehicles, marking the 12th consecutive month of declines and the second-biggest fall on record for August, the Japan Automobile Dealers Association said on Thursday.

The sharp decline came from difficult comparisons from a year earlier, when consumers rushed to replace old cars and take advantage of government subsidies before they expired last September. Compared with August sales from 2009, sales grew 9.5 percent, an official said.

"It was the first time since the (March 11) disasters that sales grew from 2009 levels, so there's a silver lining," said Michiro Saito, general manager at the association. "Automakers are planning to ramp up production from now on to make up for the losses, so we'll see how that helps."

Sales at top-ranked Toyota Motor Corp, which started make-up production on Thursday, fell 22.7 percent. Nissan Motor Co's sales, excluding minivehicles, dropped 24.7 percent.

Honda Motor Co, the slowest to recover from the supply disruptions, suffered the biggest decline, of 49 percent.


In India, top carmaker Maruti Suzuki posted its third consecutive drop in monthly sales as high interest rates and rising vehicle prices deterred customers. Maruti's sales fell 12.7 percent in August after a record 25 percent drop in July.

An ongoing labour dispute at its Manesar plant also hit sales for the month, Maruti said in a statement.

Earlier this week, Maruti halted production at its plant in the northern Haryana state after it dismissed some workers and asked all others to sign a "good conduct bond." The plant, which produces about 1,200 cars a day, did not make any cars on Monday and Tuesday and made just 60 cars on Wednesday.

Maruti, 54.2 percent owned by Japan's Suzuki Motor Corp, expects to post single-digit sales growth this fiscal year, a far cry from the 25 percent rise last year.

Total car sales in India fell almost 16 percent in July, marking the first drop in two-and-half years, as borrowing costs rose following multiple rate hikes by the central bank.


South Korea's Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors stretched their current winning streak with Hyundai's global sales climbing 5 percent, driven by strong shipments from its overseas plants in China, India and the United States.

Affiliate Kia saw its global sales jump 27 percent, although domestic sales slipped.

Analysts said however, the Koreans may struggle to maintain the momentum in the face of an uncertain global economy and rising price competition from Japanese rivals.

Toyota last week unveiled its all-new Camry in the United States, aiming to recover lost momentum with price cuts and a high-powered ad campaign for America's best-selling car.

"The market expected solid sales for Hyundai and Kia for August. What's important are their sales in the coming months," said Park In-woo, an analyst at LIG Investment & Securities.

"Hyundai and Kia have comfortably increased market shares and profits, but competition will be tougher next year with new model launches (by Japanese rivals)," he said.

Analysts are watching for U.S. sales data due later on Thursday to gauge their resistance to rising competition.

(Additional reporting by Anurag Kotoky and Devidutta Tripathy in New Delhi; Editing by Matt Driskill)

Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared



Segway in India

Segway in India

Segway’s India business pegs hope on tech-savvy Modi  Full Article 

Power Outage

Power Outage

Mumbai hit by power cuts  Full Article 



Gold imports, premiums to jump on festive demand - top refiner  Full Article 

Economic Worries

Economic Worries

Pakistan's promises to IMF in doubt as protests sap economy   Full Article 

Islamic Finance

Islamic Finance

Basel III deposit challenge looms over Islamic banks   Full Article 

Antitrust Probes

Antitrust Probes

U.S. business lobby says concerned China antitrust probes unfair.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage