December car sales are below expectations, even as Tata Motors and M&M show strong growth


  • December was a mixed month for auto sales as changing customer preferences and subdued global economic conditions played a role.
  • Tata Motors continued its advance, while market leader Maruti Suzuki reported a decline in both domestic sales and exports.
  • In the two-wheeler space, Hero MotoCorp, Bajaj Auto and TVS Motor reported a huge dent in exports.

December auto sales were a mixed bag as several factors such as declining small car sales, weak economic conditions in foreign markets and more impacted shipments during the month.

This is in stark contrast to the euphoria in November 2022 where the festive mood mixed with the upcoming winter wedding season drove sales up more than 25% year-on-year to 23.8 lakh units. While analysts expected auto sales to drop sequentially, sales of many top automakers also fell year on year.

“By December 2022, passenger car volumes are likely to be higher on a year-over-year basis, although volumes will be lower on a monthly basis due to production constraints. Further, tractor volumes are likely to be better year-over-year, but down month-over-month due to seasonality,” said a report from Emkay Research.

Analysts, however, expected sales to increase year-over-year due to the low-base effect. Still, actual sales for the month were lower on both counts. However, two-wheeler sales slowed due to a delayed recovery in the countryside, as both Hero MotoCorp and Bajaj Auto reported numbers below analyst expectations.

Even in difficult conditions, Tata Motors continued its upward movement with an overall growth of 10% in total domestic sales, led by passenger car sales. However, market leader Maruti Suzuki reported another subdued month with a 9% drop as customers stayed away from small cars – as sales fell 4% – much worse than analysts expected.

However, sales growth at Tata Motors and M&M fell short of expectations. Analysts at Emkay expected Tata Motors to post volume growth of 25% and M&M an increase of 64%.

Company Domestic sales Change (Yearly) Export Change (Yearly)
Maruti Suzuki 1,17,551 -10% 21,796 -2%
Tata engines 72,997 10% 995 -68%
M&M 53,577 48% 3,100 3%
Held MotoCorp 3,81,365 2% 12,814 -37%
TVS engine 1,62,610 10% 79,402 -23%
Bay car 1,48,555 2% 1,32,931 -39%
Ashok Leyland 17.112 49% 1,026 0.1%

Source: Companies, change from December 2021


Sales of passenger cars from Tata Motors continue to rise

Tata Motors continued its growth trajectory with a 10% increase in domestic vehicle sales in December 2022 compared to December 2021.

“For Tata Motors passenger cars, CY22 was a momentous year in which we grew faster than the industry and comfortably crossed the landmark milestone of 5 lakh units to post a wholesale sales of 526,798 units,” said Shailesh Chandra, Managing Director of Tata Motors Passenger Vehicles.

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

Maruti Suzuki customers avoid small cars

Customers of India’s largest automaker, Maruti Suzuki, continue to shun small cars like the Alto, Baleno, Swift and others in the mini, compact and midsize segments. Total sales in these three segments fell from 86,869 in December 2021 to 68,421 units in December 2022.

On the other hand, its commercial vehicles such as Brezza, Ertiga, Grand Vitara and others experienced growth, selling 33,008 units in December 2022 against 26,982 in December 2021.

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

Mahindra & Mahindra reports growth in all segments

While most other companies reported a mixed month, Mahindra & Mahindra reported growth across all segments. Sales in the passenger car segment increased by 61%, while exports increased by 3%.

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

Hero MotoCorp, Bajaj Auto, TVS Motor report faltering exports

In the field of two-wheelers, Hero MotoCorp, Bajaj Auto and TVS Motor reported large export declines, ranging from 23-39%. Incumbent operators Bajaj and Hero also reported only marginal increases in their domestic sales, which grew by 2%.

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


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