After demonetisation pangs, expect normalcy in Q1 2017:Hyundai

NEW DELHI, Jan 1:  With retail sales picking up again in December after taking a hit due to demonetisation, Hyundai Motors India expects normalcy to return in the first quarter of the new year.

The company, which capped a “landmark year” in 2016 with domestic sales crossing the 5 lakh unit mark, is looking to build on the momentum this year.

“Demonetisation impacted consumer sentiment creating a challenge. Walk-ins at showrooms were down by around 40 per cent while overall retail sales were down by 24-25 per cent immediately after the note ban,” Hyundai Motor India Ltd (HMIL) Senior Vice-President, Sales and Marketing Rakesh Srivastava told PTI.

The company’s domestic sales (wholesales) declined 8.32 per cent to 40,016 units in November 2016 compared with 43,651 in November 2015.

He, however, said things have started to improve in December, and with the company also launching a slew of promotional offers, “retail sales in December were up 5 per cent as compared with the same month last year”.

Asked how long it could take for normalcy to return, Srivastava said: “The situation is improving. It may take a quarter to normalise.”

Elaborating on the steps taken up by the company in order to overcome the challenge created by demonetisation, he said: “In the second half of December, we took up countermeasures by giving consumers offers, which were 10 per cent more than we did the year before.”

For products like Eon, i10 and Grand i10, he said in December the company offered the lowest price ever since these models were launched, coming up with zero cash down payment schemes.

On the company’s achievements in 2016, Srivastava said: “We had a landmark year. For the first time, our domestic annual sales crossed 5 lakh units at a growth of 5.5 per cent.”

This, he said, was achieved without launching a new model in the mass-market volume segment as HMIL had only the premium executive sedan Elantra and SUV Tucson as new models in 2016.

One of the reasons for the company to cross the milestone is its continuing expansion in rural markets, he added.

“We have expanded our network in rural markets, with the total now at 365. Rural sales now account for 23 per cent of our total sales,” he added.

On exports, Srivastava said the company clocked a total of 1.61 lakh units in 2016.

About expectations in 2017, he said the company would look to build on the momentum of 2016 while refraining from making a forecast. (PTI)