India's biggest automaker, Maruti Suzuki India Ltd, expects sales of its cars in September to be higher than the previous month, its Chairman RC Bhargava told Reuters. August domestic sales at Maruti Suzuki fell 34.3 per cent, one of the biggest monthly drops in sales in recent times. Indian auto sales fell for the 10th straight month in August, marking one of the worst slowdowns in the industry's history. "We expect that retail sales in September would witness an improvement over August," Bhargava said. "The booking levels have gone up compared to last month, have gone up substantially, and the expectation is that the 29th and 30th of this month will probably witness very high retail sales." The nine-day Navaratri festive season, which typically witnesses an uptick in sales, begins on Sept. 29.
Earlier, Maruti Suzuki had announced a 2-day shutdown at Gurugram & Manesar production units, on September 7 and 9, reeling under severe slowdown. Maruti Suzuki India reduced its production by 33.99 per cent in August, making it the seventh straight month that the country's largest carmaker reduced its output. The company produced a total of 1,11,370 units in August as against 1,68,725 units in the year-ago month, Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) had said in a filing to the BSE. Passenger vehicles' production last month stood at 1,10,214 units as against 1,66,161 units in August 2018, a decline of 33.67 per cent, it added.
Production of mini and compact segment cars including Alto, New WagonR, Celerio, Ignis, Swift, Baleno and Dzire stood at 80,909 units as against 1,22,824 units in August last year, down 34.1 per cent. Production of utility vehicles such as Vitara Brezza, Ertiga and S-Cross declined 34.85 per cent to 15,099 units as compared with 23,176 units in the year-ago month. Mid-sized sedan Ciaz saw its production reduced to 2,285 units in August from 6,149 units in the same month last year. Light commercial vehicle Super Carry's production was also trimmed to 1,156 units this August, from 2,564 units in August 2018, the filing said. In July, the automaker had cut its production by 25.15 per cent at 1,33,625 units.