Thailand floods hit Honda City sales in India, Verna to exceed target

If there’s one success story that dominates all others, it’s that of the Hyundai Verna. November 2011 was dominated by Hyundai, which is producing Vernas at full capacity and selling all it can produce, with 4,331 cars sold. Hyundai had said it planned to sell 45,000 units of the Verna within a year, during its launch in May, and in just seven months it’s clear that the company is well on track to exceed that target, with over 30,700 cars sold.

But things are not so rosy for its competitors. The hike in fuel prices and increase in interest rates have been weighing down on some, but for two cars in particular it’s been a bad season thanks to production issues.

Honda City hit by floods

Honda was the worst affected in November because of floods in Thailand. Honda imports some of the components for the City, Jazz and Brio from Thailand and the floods prevented access to those crucial components. This meant City production had to be halted in the middle of the month for lack of kits. Honda City sales dropped from a robust 3376 cars in October to just 652 cars in November.

This has pushed Honda down the rung in terms of sales rankings, coming in at sixth spot, just ahead of the Global Ford Fiesta, which has been doing moderate numbers of 624 cars and nowhere near what was predicted for it. The launch of the Skoda Rapid too has also made it tougher for rivals, with the Rapid chalking up 957 cars in just 15 days of sales.

Maruti Suzuki SX4 losing favor

Maruti’s SX4 was another car that was hit badly by production issues in October. The car has been languishing since July, after labor problems at Maruti’s Manesar plant affected production. It’s not that there was no demand for the car, but uncertainty in deliveries led buyers to look at other alternatives. The sales figures for November show that the SX4 managed to sell 1,433 cars, but that’s still not good enough for a car that was selling an average of 2,800 cars before the strike began. Maruti needs to regain lost ground with this car, but it will be a tough call as two more rivals have appeared on the scene since Maruti’s troubles began – the Skoda Rapid and the Nissan Sunny.

The Nissan Sunny is presently available only with a petrol engine, with the launch of a diesel variant expected soon. Yet, it’s been doing some pretty decent numbers considering Nissan only has 45 dealerships and not a very strong service network. The Sunny sold 1,131 units in November, a decline of 16% from October.

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Sedans outlook

There are no new sedans likely to be launched soon, except for a face-lifted version of the Honda City. The Auto Expo next month will see the Honda City on display and other sedans in the premium category also being showcased. It will be interesting to see if the Skoda Rapid can take some of the sales sheen of the Volkswagen Vento, which sold 3,055 cars in November, a drop of 12% from October.

Could that drop have been because of the Rapid? Share your thoughts.