General economic slowdown, as well as financing constraints and seasonal factors, subdued passenger and commercial vehicle sales during December.
At present, the auto sector suffers from a consumption slowdown due to high taxation, stagnant wages and a stressed rural sector.
While Maruti Suzuki and Mahindra saw a marginal increase for the first time in months, a recovery for the industry is still far away.
According to a report in Times of India, the auto industry witnessed the biggest decline in 2019 in over two decades. Quoting numbers sourced from the industry, the TOI report states that sales of passenger vehicles including a cumulative of cars, vans and SUVs fell below the 3-million mark in 2019, after crossing the figure for the first time in 2017.
Maruti Suzuki India
On Wednesday, automobile major Maruti Suzuki India reported that its overall sales which includes exports and off-take by other OEMs grew by 3.9% to 133,296 units from 128,338 units sold during the corresponding period of the last year.
Similarly, the company's domestic sales including those made to other OEMs increased by 3.5% on an year-on-year basis to 125,735 units in December 2019.
However, the company's sales of light commercial vehicles in the country fell 5% to 1,591 units.
On the other hand, the automobile major's exports zoomed by 10.2% in December to 7,561 units from 6,859 units which were shipped out during the corresponding month of last fiscal.
Hyundai Motor India
In contrast, Hyundai Motor India's overall sales, including exports declined by 9.9% to 50,135 units from 55,638 units sold during December 2018.
Besides, the company's domestic sales during the month under review edged lower by 9.8% to 37,953 units from 42,093 units sold during the corresponding period of 2018.
Similarly, the company's exports went down by 10.06% to 12,182 units from 13,545 units shipped abroad in December 2018.
"The year 2019 has been a challenging year for the Indian automotive industry. As we gear-up for a significant year 2020, we will offer BS VI in both petrol and diesel engines across different models in our product portfolio," said Tarun Garg, Director - Sales, Marketing and Service, Hyundai Motor India Ltd.
Another automobile giant Tata Motors' overall sales, including exports in December declined by 13.84% on a year-on-year basis to 46,903 units from 54,439 units sold during December 2018.
The automobile manufacturer's domestic sales fell by 12% to 44,254 units last month, compared to 50,440 units during the same period last year.
Segment-wise, commercial vehicles sales during the period under review fell by 15% to 34,082 units from 40,015 units.
Similarly, passenger vehicles' sales declined by 10% last month to 12,785 units from 14,260 units which were shipped-out during the like period of last year.
Commenting on the sales performance, Mayank Pareek, President, Passenger Vehicles Business Unit, Tata Motors said: "Our focus in December has been to drive retail and minimise the network stock in order to facilitate a smooth transition to BSVI."
"Our marketing campaigns and attractive consumer schemes resulted in the highest retail sales this fiscal. December retail was 83% higher than the off-take and the dealer network stock has been reduced to lowest ever level.
"Having almost completed our planned production and dispatches of BS IV, we will start moving to BS VI production and dispatches from January and step up our volumes in the coming months," he added.
Mahindra and Mahindra (M&M)
Mahindra and Mahindra (M&M) reported a 1% fall in its total sales in December to 39,230 units from 39,755 units sold during the corresponding period of 2018.
Further, the company's total domestic sales inched-up 1% to 37,081 units from 36,690 units sold during December 2018.
However, exports plunged by 30% to 2,149 units from 3,065 units shipped out during December 2018.
Veejay Ram Nakra, Chief of Sales and Marketing, Automotive Division, M&M said: "Our performance in the month of December is as per year end sales outlook and currently we are also comfortable with our overall stock levels."
"As we get into the new year, we are fully equipped to roll out our BSVI products and have taken all requisite measures for a smooth transition over the next three months."
Grant Thornton India LLP Partner, Sridhar V. said: "Sales reflective of the conditions prevalent during the year with December expectedly being true to the norm when sales is at its lowest."
"Discounts and push at the dealers end has kept some momentum but it is far from any true recovery."