Home-grown auto company overtook Korean giant in Dec 2021 and May 2022.
In May 2022, Tata Motors became India’s second-largest carmaker, overtaking the legacy Number Two, Hyundai India. Tata Motors sold 43,341 cars, beating Hyundai India’s 42,293 unit sales.
However, Maruti Suzuki India, at 124,474 units, sold more than Tata and Hyundai put together.
It’s the second time that the home-grown carmaker has beaten the Korean giant. In December 2021, Tata Motors had sold 35,299 units, overtaking Hyundai’s 32,312 units. But from January to April 2022, Hyundai reclaimed its position — a spot it has been sitting in for about 15 years.
“The demand for our ‘New Forever’ range continues to be strong. The same has reflected in our May 2022 sales, where we have recorded our highest-ever monthly sales of 43,341 units since the inception of the passenger vehicle business, reporting a growth of 185% over the same period last year,” Shailesh Chandra, managing director, Tata Motors Passenger Vehicles, and Tata Passenger Electric Mobility, told FE. “Furthermore, all our products are leaders in their respective segments, forming a portfolio that is rich in selections, ranging from smart trim choices to strong powertrain options, making us the only OEM catering to customer needs across petrol, diesel, CNG and electric.”
In May 2022, of the 43,341 cars sold, 3,454 were electric cars — the highest-ever in a month for Tata Motors.
While most carmakers have been dealing with the semiconductor shortage issue with varying degrees of success, Chandra said Tata Motors is monitoring the situation closely and finding innovative solutions with its suppliers to de-bottleneck production capacities. “These actions have helped us on an ongoing basis and have not let the shortage impact the supply side to a large extent,” he said.
In addition to highest-ever EV sales in a month, Tata Motors also clocked highest-ever monthly sales of the Nexon SUV (14,614 units), and highest-ever monthly sales in the high SUV segment, with over 5,000 units of the Harrier and the Safari sold, combined.
Auto analysts FE talked to are of the opinion that Hyundai India will get its legacy position back soon.
“The demand for SUVs is rising and Tata Motors has a great line-up in the Punch, the Nexon, the Harrier and the Safari. The Altroz premium hatchback is selling well, and the carmaker is getting additional volumes of 3,000-4,000 units just from its EV business, which others don’t have,” said an analyst. “But with Hyundai launching the new Venue SUV on June 16, it will get back sales numbers. The Creta continues to enjoy good demand.”
Gaurav Vangaal, associate director, Light Vehicle Forecasting, S&P Global Mobility, told FE that the new Venue will definitely attract a lot of buyers, and Hyundai’s most models have a massive demand. “In May 2022, Hyundai Motor India’s manufacturing plant in Chennai was shut for the scheduled biannual maintenance and there was no production for six days (May 16-21). That reduced vehicle availability in the month, negatively impacting Hyundai’s May sales numbers,” he said.
Maruti Suzuki, Vangaal added, is a long shot even for Tata Motors and Hyundai India put together to challenge. “Maruti Suzuki has such a solid product pipeline that it can raise its market share this year,” he said.
While Chandra didn’t comment on whether or not Tata Motors will be able to hold onto its second-largest carmaker position, he said it will remain an EV leader, by far. “We are not chasing numbers, but will remain an EV leader, by far. The power of the entire Tata Group is behind the EV strategy, and investors have shown confidence. As we launch our EVs in more cities, there will be more confidence amongst consumers, and the word of mouth will spread that EVs are easy to own, charge and run (for example, 96% of our existing EV users charge at home). This will lead to better demand,” he said.
In January, Tata Motors launched the Tiago CNG and the Tigor CNG. These two models are also giving the carmaker incremental sales numbers.