Maruti Suzuki Sales Slump 20% In October-November Post Demonetisation

New Delhi: Country’s largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki on Friday said its retail sales declined by 20 per cent in the October-November period, compared to the same period last year, as cash crunch following scrapping of high-value notes led to a fall in demand.

The auto major, however, said the situation has now improved this month and the bookings have grown by 7 per cent as compared to December last year.

“The numbers that we have show that demonetisation did lead to dip in bookings as well as True Value sales in November. If you put October and November sales together, retail sales were 20 per cent lower than last year,” Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) Chairman RC Bhargava told reporters.

“So it indicates that immediately after demonetisation took place, certain amount of uncertainty and concern was there among people as what it means but the trend has changed and from minus 20 per cent last month we are now at plus 7 per cent in December,” Mr Bhargava said.

“Till November, we were growing in double digits. As I said I am not making a prediction for the next three months but what I can say safely is that in the worst case scenario, I can see that if things go bad for some reasons we will still be not very different from 10 per cent,” he said when asked if the company would still stick to its earlier stated double-digit growth guidance for the current fiscal.

“The only thing which I am not prepared to do at this point is to make a forecast for the next few months. I want to have little bit of evidence as what happens in January before we predict for the whole year,” Mr Bhargava said.

The company is maintaining its production levels as planned and wholesale figures as well, he added.

Elaborating further, he said that rural sales in November declined by 11 per cent while sales during this month so far have grown by 18 per cent.

On dip in sales from Maruti True Value outlets, Mr Bhargava cited higher interest rates for used cars and shortage of cash as the prime reasons.

“Trend is reversing but it still is in the negative territory,” he added.

When asked about the Suzuki’s upcoming plant in Gujarat, Mr Bhargava said the manufacturing plant is on schedule and the first car would roll out from February next year.

On new product launches, he added the company would be launching Ignis and Baleno RS in the near future.

The government on November 8last month had announced the scrapping of 500 and 1,000 rupee notes in a bid to clamp down against black money, terror funding and corruption in the country.