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    Maruti sales may fall 20% this fiscal: Suzuki Motor

    Synopsis

    Chairman Toshihiro Suzuki told Japanese analysts last week that the company was still uncertain on India because of the Covid-19 situation. “We don’t know what will happen to coronavirus in India or what measures the government will implement; so that makes the market difficult to predict," he said.

    MUMBAI: Maruti Suzuki will likely post a 20% fall in vehicle sales this fiscal year, its Japanese parent Suzuki Motor has forecast, surprising analysts who were expecting the pandemic to leave a smaller impact on the Indian automaker because of the strong demand pick-up it is witnessing currently.

    This is the first time Suzuki has given a forecast for this year, for its own performance and that of its largest unit.

    Chairman Toshihiro Suzuki told Japanese analysts last week that the company was still uncertain on India because of the Covid-19 situation. “We don’t know what will happen to coronavirus in India or what measures the government will implement; so that makes the market difficult to predict," he said.

    At a post-earnings call late last month, the top management at Maruti Suzuki had said there was visibility of demand only till December, and that they could not comment beyond that.

    An email sent to Maruti Suzuki did not elicit any response till press time Sunday.

    Suzuki has estimated its global sales to be 2.37 million units in the ongoing fiscal year, a drop of 16.6% from the previous year. In the fiscal first half ended September, the Indian subsidiary contributed about 26% to its total automobile revenue of 1.133 trillion yen and 45% of total automobile volume of nearly a million.

    In a note, Goldman Sachs said the 20% fall in sales predicted for India was more cautious than its assumption of a 15% decline. Credit Suisse said it was expecting a 14% fall in Suzuki’s India sales.

    Morgan Stanley, meanwhile, said it was expecting the company’s guidance to be lower than its own expectations given Suzuki's “conservative tendencies”. The brokerage firm raised its forecast on the company, based on second-quarter results.

    In the first half of the fiscal year, Maruti Suzuki’s volume dropped 36% to about 469,000 units. The tentative production schedule shared by Maruti Suzuki with its supplier shows that the company was gradually lowering its gap with last year's volume of 1.56 million units.
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