While new carmakers are making a beeline for India, existing foreign brands in the country are trying hard to stay afloat. This is evident in the list of least selling car brands of FY19, wherein 8 out of 9 are foreign carmakers. The list includes the likes of Fiat, Isuzu, FCA, Skoda, Volkswagen, Nissan, Renault and Ford.
Least selling carmakers are those that have sales less than 1 lakh units in FY19. Except Ford, all other foreign brands in the list have registered negative sales growth. Ford is the only exception, as it has sales growth of 2.6%, up from 90,601 units in FY18 to 92,937 units in FY19. However, Ford’s market share is still low at 2.75%. At 2.36%, Renault has the second biggest market share in this list.
Biggest y-o-y negative growth has been reported by Fiat India Automobiles, whose sales have crashed to 798 units in FY19, down 57% from 1,860 units in FY18. Since operations cannot be sustained at such low levels, it is likely that Fiat will discontinue its Linea and Punto cars in India. Parent company FCA is likely to shift focus on Jeep Compass, which has had a good run here. Jeep Compass sales have also declined in FY19, so it definitely needs some new strategies.
Other top brands with negative sales growth are Isuzu Motors (-31.86%), Nissan (-30.8%), Volkswagen (-23.7%), Renault (-22%), FCA (-16.9%) and Skoda Auto (-9.41%). All figures are based on stats shared by Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM).
There are multiple reasons, as to why several foreign carmakers are finding it tough to survive here. Firstly, it relates to India’s unique automobile market where more than 50% market share is controlled by a single brand – Maruti Suzuki. Secondly, customers in India come from varying cultural and socio-economical backgrounds, which creates challenges for foreign carmakers in terms of creating a product that suits all. Foreign car brands have limited product range, something that pushes the advantage towards home-grown carmakers such as Maruti Suzuki, Tata Motors and Mahindra & Mahindra.
Another reason is that foreign carmakers are relatively slow when it comes to product turnaround time. Key decisions are taken at global headquarters of these companies, which increases the time from product conceptualization to sales. Experts feel that lack of stability in top management can also be a reason for dismal performance of foreign car brands in India. In comparison, home-grown automakers don’t have such issues, as they have a fairly stable top management. Foreign carmakers will have to work diligently to resolve such issues if they want to gain traction in world’s 4th largest auto market.