Q2 FY24 - Investor Conference Call

October 27, 2023

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MSIL Conference Call Transcript 27 October 2023


Ladies and gentlemen, good day and welcome to the Q2 FY24 Earnings Conference Call of Maruti Suzuki India

Limited. As a reminder, all participant lines will be in the listen-only mode, and there will be an opportunity for

you to ask questions after the presentation concludes. Should you need assistance during the call, please signal

an operator by pressing star, then zero on your touchtone phone. Please note that this conference is being


I now hand the conference over to Mr. Pranav Ambaprasad. Thank you and over to you, sir.

Pranav Ambaprasad:

Thank you. Ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon once again. Welcome you all to the Q2 FY24 Earnings Call.

Before we begin, may I remind you of the safe harbour. We may be making some forward-looking statements

that have to be understood in conjunction with the uncertainty and the risks that the company faces. I also like to

inform you that the call is being recorded, and the audio recording and the transcript will be available at our


Please note that in case of any error during this live audio call, the transcript will be provided with the corrected

information. The con call will begin with a brief statement on the performance and outlook of the business by

the Chief Investor Relations Officer and Executive Officer, Corporate Planning, Mr. Rahul Bharti, after which

we'll be happy to receive your questions. I would like to invite our Chief Investor Relations Officer, Mr. Rahul

Bharti. Over to you, sir.

Rahul Bharti:

Thanks Pranav,

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen and thank you for joining us.

Today, I will start with an overview of the industry sales performance followed by the business performance of

the Company.

Quarter 2 of this year has been a reasonably good quarter. Industry clocked its highest ever quarterly wholesale

volume of over 1.07 million units with a year-on-year growth of about 5%. Sales volume for the Company in

passenger vehicle segment grew by about 8%, higher than the industry growth. It led to a gain in market share

for the Company by 120 basis points.

In the industry, the share of utility vehicle segment continued to expand. In quarter 2, the share of SUVs increased

to about 50%, which was about 43% during last financial year. Together with MUV, the share of UV in the

industry is around 60%.

In terms of fuel type, CNG vehicles continued to see strong demand and the share of CNG vehicles in the industry

has now reached ~15%. Share of diesel vehicles continued to decline and is now about 17% compared around

19% during last financial year Hybrid vehicles has seen a good traction and now the share of Hybrid vehicles

has increased to about 2%.

Let me start with some of the business highlights for the Company.

  • During the quarter, the Company clocked its highest ever quarterly sales volume of over 552,000 units. After 8 quarters, the Company could avoid production volume loss on account of semiconductor shortages. Going ahead, the Company is cautiously optimistic on semiconductor supplies.

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MSIL Conference Call Transcript 27 October 2023

  • With the easing of electronic component shortages, production volume improved and the pending orders at the end of quarter 2 has come down to ~288,000 units and further corrected to 250,000 today. Diverging demand patterns between utility vehicle and small car segment is continuing. The Company is working on increasing the flexibility in operations to produce vehicles as per the evolving market demand.
  • With an overwhelming response to its products in SUV segment, the Company achieved market leadership with a market share of about ~23% in SUV segment during the quarter 2 of this year.
  • The Company is already a leader in hatchback, Sedan, vans and MPV segment. All the four SUVs; Brezza, Grand Vitara, Fronx and Jimny have contributed for the Company to become the No. 1 maker of SUVs in India.
  • In Q2 FY'24, exports volume for the Company grew by 9.7% over same period last year. With exports of about 69,000 units, the Company continued to be the largest exporter of passenger vehicles from India. SUV models, such as Grand Vitara and Fronx are also contributing to growth in export volumes. Recently, the company further expanded its product portfolio for exports with start of exports of Jimny 5-door. The vehicle will be shipped to destinations in Latin America, the Middle East and Africa region. Going forward, the Company plans a 3-fold increase in its exports volume by increasing its exports to 750,000 -800,000 units/ year by 2030-31.

As you are aware the Company is now integrating SMG Gujarat plant with itself. This will help the Company enhance its agility and eventually the competitive position in a scenario where the Company will be operating at multiple locations across the country and manufacturing vehicles with multiple powertrain technologies. The Company has shared a presentation with the stock exchange for investors, proxy advisors and analysts for better understanding of the proposal. On 17th October, the Company put up the proposal for shareholders' approval. The voting will remain open until 16th November for shareholders to exercise their voting rights.

Coming to the Highlights of Q2 (July-September), FY 2023-24

In quarter 2, the Company recorded its highest ever quarterly sales volume, net sales, operating profit and net profit. The Company sold a total of 552,055 vehicles during the quarter, registering a growth of 6.7% over Q2 FY2022-23. Out of the total sales volume, 482,731 units were sold in the domestic market and 69,324 units were exported.

In this quarter, the Company registered Net Sales of INR 355,351 million, a growth of 24.5% over quarter 2 of last year. Growth in net sales outpaced the growth in sales volume due to a higher contribution of utility vehicles in total sales volume. The average selling price in this quarter grew by ~15% over Q2 FY2022-23.

The Net Profit for the quarter rose to INR 37,165 million from INR 20,615 million in Q2 FY2022-23, a year-on- year growth of over 80%. This was on account of higher sales volume, cost reduction efforts, favorable commodity prices and higher non-operating income.

In this quarter, as you might have observed that almost all the positive factors combined to give us a good result.

Highlights: H1 (April-September), FY 2023-24

For the period of April-September'23, the Company also recorded its highest-everhalf-yearly sales volume, Net

Sales and Net Profit.

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For the first time, the Company surpassed half-yearly sales mark of 1 million units.

Total sales in H1 FY2023-24 were 1,050,085 units, a growth of 6.6% over the H1 FY2022-23. Sales in the

domestic market stood at 917,543 units and exports were at 132,542 units.

The Company registered Net Sales of INR 663,803 million in H1 FY2023-24. The Net Sales in H1 FY2022-23

were at INR 538,298 million.

The Company made a Net Profit of INR 62,016 million in the H1 FY2023-24 as against INR 30,743 million in

H1 FY2022-23.

We are now ready to take your questions, feedback, and any other observations that you may have. Thank you.


Thank you very much. We will now begin the question-and-answer session. The first question is from the line

of Mr. Pramod Kumar from UBS. Please go ahead.

Pramod Kumar:

The first question is a clarification on the quarterly results. I just wanted to know, are there any one-off gains or

one-off items which are lumpy, which are lifting our margin profile for the quarter? And second, is there a

clarification on the change in inventory position that seems to be quite significant this quarter and does it have

any bearing from an accounting standpoint, on the margin numbers that have been reported for the quarter?

Rahul Bharti:

So, Pramod, there are no one-offs as such, with the possible exception that commodities cycles and forex keep

on varying. We have to keep that in mind. In terms of inventory, the wholesales were about 467,000 units, And

retails were at 432,450 units. So, wholesales were slightly above retails, and this is expected, because we need

to build inventories in the middle of the festive season.

Pramod Kumar:

Sorry, Mr. Bharti, I am sorry to interject. Apologies. But I was more referring to the P&L line item of change in

inventories, not the physical inventory at dealers. Basically, there is around INR 800 crores of inventory

movement item in the P&L, which is reducing your raw material to sales ratio. Just wanted to understand the

accounting intricacies there, because there is some confusion, we got some client feedback that this INR 815

crores explains a big chunk of the margin expansion. So, if you can just help us understand this from an

accounting standpoint, does it have any one-off impact or any impact whatsoever on the underlying profitability

of the company for the quarter?

Ajay Seth:

So, Pramod, let me answer this. I think this question is being asked by many investors. Let me clarify that there

is no one-off or exception in the results. Movement in inventory is a regular feature. Inventory keeps getting

adjusted every quarter. And there are ups and downs and there are small elements of adjustments that happen,

which are very marginal and not very significant.

So, it's a usual practice that the inventories, which comprises of either the finished goods, work in progress, or

basically both finished goods and work in progress goods, will keep changing every quarter and to the extent of

absorption of fixed cost incidents, there could be some impact on the inventories.

But that's not so significant. And it's a regular feature. It happens every quarter. So, if you were to see it in

comparison to last year, it is flat. If you were to compare it sequentially, there will be some impact of inventory

buildup, but that is also not very significant.

So, let me clarify that the results either do not have any one-offs or are significantly impacted by any inventory


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Pramod Kumar:

Mr. Seth, thanks a lot for the clarification. And just to make it even more clear, so, for the volumes what you've

done and for the mix what you've done and where the commodity and other elements are, this is the kind of

margin one can expect, Ceteris paribus, the 12.9% margin what you reported. If everything remaining constant,

everything remaining steady state, this would be the kind of profitability you would have with this volume and

with this kind of a mix and whatever discount levels. Is that understanding right?

Ajay Seth:

So, let me clarify that in the current context, given the current mix and the current situation that we are in, i.e.,

commodities, forex, mix, discounts etcetera, the margins are very much what they are. How it will move forward

will depend on all the variables such as the commodity costs, foreign exchange, as well as the mix. As you rightly

said, if everything is constant, then of course, the margins will remain the same. But if anything changes, then

the margins will accordingly move up or down.

Pramod Kumar:

Fair enough, Sir. And so, if you can just help us understand the discount number for the quarter, average discount,

and the export revenue, that would be helpful. And then I had one follow-up question on the demand side, what

is your general demand outlook?

Rahul Bharti:

Discounts are about INR17,700 per vehicle, and export revenue was about INR 4,333 crores.

Pramod Kumar:

Okay. And Sir, on the demand side, we've heard on business channels recently. I just wanted to understand, if

you can provide some information on the demand of urban versus rural, geographical spread, because what we

understand is South is a bit weak because of the weak monsoon, especially, for some other categories?

So, give some more granularity on the demand. What you're seeing in the festive season so far, and also going

into Dhanteras and then Diwali, how is the inquiry frequency, booking conversion ratio, or how's the demand

scenario looking for the rest of the season.

Rahul Bharti:

So, demand has been quite stable at the current levels for some time. And of course, geographically, mix always

exists. The central zone of the country, for example, Delhi, NCR, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh is doing fine. Even

south India is doing fine. East India has some weakness. Maharashtra, in some parts, due to the effect of rain,

etcetera, has some weakness.

But across the country, the industry is growing at 5%. We had mentioned in the beginning of the year that we

will grow faster than industry this year. So, we gave out a projection of about 10% growth in this year. So, that

is the outlook.

Festive season is generally defined from Onam to Bhai Dooj after Diwali. So, till now, the industry has grown

by about 20%. And in overall festive season it should grow by about 18%.

Pramod Kumar:

And Maruti should do better?

Rahul Bharti:

In line with industry.


Thank you. The next question is from the line of Mr. Kapil Singh from Nomura. Please go ahead.

Kapil Singh:

Hi, sir. Could you talk about the various elements or how much was the benefit from each of the elements for

the margin, like forex, commodity, and cost reduction, if you compared to Q1?

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Ajay Seth:

So, Kapil, sequentially, as we mentioned that the major benefit has come from the commodities and the cost

reduction that we have been able to achieve. There has been a significant softening in the prices of precious

metals commodities. And there we have seen a lot of reduction in the cost on account of that.

Steel prices have reduced, but not such a significant reduction in steel, compared to what we've seen in the

precious metals. So, that's one major impact that we see compared to the first quarter. In addition, the effort of

cost reduction, which carries on, adds on to the reduction in the commodity prices.

So, that's the most significant portion. Also, the mix and the volume increase helped us in terms of both operating

leverage, and in achieving higher margins, that's the second part. The third part is, if you remember, in the first

quarter, there was a one-off in the employee cost, as we had given certain retention bonuses, etcetera, which is

not there now. It will not be repeated in the next quarters as well. And there was a reduction in employee cost

because of this one-time item going away.

Advertisement costs also have been slightly lower than what they were in the first quarter, we had launches and

our conferences, which added on to the cost. So, these are the primary reasons. Also, the sales promotion cost is

slightly higher, as Rahul had also mentioned, we were about INR 17,692/vehicle in the Q2 FY23-24, we were

INR 16,214/vehicle in the Q1 FY23-24, so marginally higher.

But if you add up these numbers, then this gives you a clear signal of the margin trajectory. Where it has gone

from first quarter to the second quarter.

Kapil Singh:

Sure, sir. Very helpful. And how should we think about the interplay between margins and the market share from

here on? Also, if you could talk about the breakdown for the pending orders between some of the key models,

how many pending orders are there, and what is the normalized level of pending orders that we used to carry pre-

COVID? Did it used to be about one and a half months, one month? Are there models where you need to raise

production, or the current supply is sufficient?

Ajay Seth:

I'll answer the first question, and Rahul will take the second question. On the margin and market share, we

continue to work on both the sides. I think it's very important for us to improve our market share. I think we've

been saying that we are now gradually going up, and we'd surely like to see ourselves recovering to that 50%

mark at some point in time. It's a tough task, but we are very committed to work towards it. So, that's very


At the same time, we keep a very close watch on our margins. You must have seen, while we have grown our

market share, we've also grown our margins. So, I think, it will be a constant war between margins and market

share, but we'll work on both sides. We'll work on market share improvement, as well as ensure, through various

initiatives, our margins are intact.

There are many initiatives, implemented internally for margin improvements in the long term.

Rahul Bharti:

On the pending orders, we have about 2.5 lakh units as of yesterday. CNG accounts for around 123,000 units out

of this. Ertiga is one major model with about 73,700 units in the pending orders. Then, we have the Brezza, the

Grand Vitara, the Jimny, Fronx and Invicto. So, a large part of pending orders is for the SUVs, which have been

recently launched.

Kapil Singh:

Sure, and what I was trying to understand is, do you need to raise production for certain models or broadly the

supply is good enough now? And what were the normalized level of pending orders that you used to have pre-

COVID? Was it 1-1.5 month, where it used to be?

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Rahul Bharti:

Ideally, in the best interest of the customer, we should have a bare minimum pending orders. The customer should

not have to wait. Financial investors see it as a positive, but it's a customer inconvenience also. The customer

should not have to wait. There are some models which do have a constraint for example Ertiga. So, we would

like to improve as we go along. And the inventory position is also fine. We are slightly above one month. So,

that is comfortable.

Kapil Singh:

Thank you so much. I'll come back in the queue.


Thank you. The next question is from the line of Mr. Raghunandhan N L, from Nuvama Institutional Research.

Please go ahead.

Raghunandhan N L:

Congratulations, sir, on the stellar numbers. Sir, first, on the 16% growth seen in the festive period so far, can

you indicate how the urban versus rural growth was?

Rahul Bharti:

Rural was slightly higher than the urban. And so far, it continues to be healthy.

Raghunandan NL:

Thank you for that. And recently showcased near production model of eVX was impressive. There was another

model, eWX. When is the global launch expected there?

Rahul Bharti:

So, we must keep in mind that it's a concept. So, one can never be sure whether it will be launched or not. One

can never be sure, whether if at all there will be a production version or not, whether it will be close to the concept

that had been displaced. So, generally in motor shows, a concept is a designer's language, a way of expressing

his imagination, to test and get consumer feedback. As of now, nothing can be said about that.

Raghunandan NL:

Sir, continuing the point on launches, Nexa Channel has benefited from several launches. Would there be more

focus on Arena Channel going forward?

Rahul Bharti:

Both channels have their distinct brand definitions, and we need to be true to their brand definitions, while

ensuring that in terms of economics, both get sufficiently utilized and not overloaded. So, it's a balancing act that

we keep doing all the time. And we should keep in mind that the model development time is about four years.

So, at any point of time, there are models in the pipeline. So, that planning is a continuous exercise. But yes, we

would like to keep both channels healthy.

Raghunandan NL:

And Sir, can you indicate the capital expenditure plan for FY 2024-25? Would it be around INR7,000 to

INR8,000 crores? Because for the first half, the spending seems to be on the lower side?

Ajay Seth:

We have yet to finalize the plan for the next year. So, once we do that, we'll be able to give you a better idea.

Raghunandhan N L:

For the current year, sir?

Ajay Seth:

Current year, the capital expenditure should be above INR 8,000 crores.

Raghunandhan N L:

Got it. The last question. On the gross margin, would you see any impact of commodity inflation? Recently, steel

prices have gone up. Would that impact Q3?

Ajay Seth:

Steel is something that we are worried about. We will have to see how the steel prices pan out. There can be

some cost increase that you can see on account of steel prices. On the other hand, the precious metals continue

to soften. So, we'll have to see, overall, what impact the steel prices have and what impact does other commodities

have, positive or negative. So, steel is going up a little bit compared to what it was this quarter.

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Raghunandhan N L:

Thank you so much, sir. Very helpful. I'll join back in the queue.


Thank you very much. The next question is from the line of Gunjan from Bank of America. Please go ahead.


Hi. Thanks for taking my questions. I had two questions. Firstly, a follow-up on the gross margin. Is there any

Forex benefit that is worth calling out, compared to Q1 FY 23-24 to Q2 FY 23-24? And similarly, on the margin,

the comment that you made that we'll keep an eye on the margin along with market share.

Is the current level of margin something that you will endeavor to maintain? Assuming there are no extreme

volatilities in commodities, which is something we can't call. But is this a margin level that you are focusing on

maintaining, or is there an aspiration to even improve on the current level? So, your thoughts on how should we

think about the sustainable operating margin in the business?

Ajay Seth:

So, sequentially, forex movement is not significant. It's very marginal. There's some benefit but very small. So,

that's not a significant number to consider.

On the second question, it is very difficult to predict margins for a longer period because so much is changing in

the industry. We are talking about capacity expansion. So, 2 million capacities will go up. We are also talking

about transiting to EV over the period of next six years, with six new models coming in.

So, we will have to see what the change in the mix is. And that will happen over a longer period, how do we

cope with it, what is the pricing, what is the market at that point in time. So, it will all depend on all these

variables. So, to give you any indication, other factors that are more temporary like commodities etcetera. This

will depend on where they move, at what point in time and how do you adjust.

While we continue to work on cost reduction, these remain some of the major factors that we will have to consider

and how do they affect the margin in the long term. Because how fast we scale up once we go to 4 million and

what are the operating levels at a given point in time? What is the fallout of the EVs? How are the margins in

that trajectory? So, all that will give you a kind of a feeler in the long run, in terms of where the masses move.

Very difficult to say now.


Okay. What I was trying to understand is that the current level of margin, of course, there will be this capacity

which will come through and that will affect the margins in the short term. But we've seen so much volatility

over the last two to three years and now the business has sort of stabilized and underlying margin as well. So, is

the operating margin that you have reported in Q2 sustainable? There's no capacity increase for at least a couple

of quarters. In the interim, if the business is at these levels, is a double-digit operating margin sustainable?

Ajay Seth:

We had all the positive factors in this quarter. It's very unusual in a quarter that you have all these positive factors.

So, every quarter you will have some or the other variable which will not work in your favor. So, I think we had

an exceptional quarter this time and there was not a single element which was negative and that brought us to the

level where we are. So, as I mentioned earlier, when this question was asked, if everything remains constant, and

nothing changes, then, of course, we are here. But if there are any changes in any of the factors, the margins will

accordingly get impacted.


Okay, got it. Fair enough. And the second question, is about these comments on a weak small car market. Now

a two-part question here. One is, what is the underlying issue as per you, what is really driving the decline in this

segment? And is it just that the first-time buyer is still not coming back or that the design preference has

completely changed, and the small cars are no longer relevant? What is your reading in that? And how are you

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trying, in the next two to three years, to still fix the under-representation that you have in the SUV segment? You

have had good launches but how should I think about the portfolio planning over the next two to three years?

Rahul Bharti:

Sure. So, small cars are a phenomenon of affordability and affordability means both cost and income. The cost

has gone up disproportionately because of the increased regulatory intensity you have seen in the past few years.

And the income of the customer in this segment has not taken off. We are hoping that sooner or later, the income

growth will catch up, and the small car segment will revive.

There are some explanations that the customer is upgrading. A person who can afford a bigger car would have

always bought a bigger car. That has been true in India for a long time. So, it's purely an affordability issue in

this segment. And as you rightly mentioned, it has declined. For industry, it used to be about 34% of the portfolio.

Now, it is about 28%.

If you look at the customer profiling also, we can see a similar reduction in the first-time buyers, almost a 10%

reduction in the percentage of first-time buyers from the market for us. So, its closely correlated. We are hoping,

that when the income growth in this segment of the population catches up with the increased cost, and the

regulatory intensity does not move up further in the next few years, at some point in time, this segment should

come back.

On your other question on SUVs. So, we've announced in our annual report that currently from about 17 models,

we'll move up to about 28 by the turn of the decade. So new model additions will take place. And being a market

leader, and a volume leader, we must cater to all the segments where the market growth is. So, wherever the

market growth is, we would like to have a presence.


Okay. Got it. Thank you so much.

Rahul Bharti:

Thank you.


Thank you. The next question is from the line of Binay from Morgan Stanley. Please go ahead.


Hi, team. Thanks for the opportunity and congratulations on a good set of numbers. Just a clarification from Mr.


Rahul Bharti:

Tell me, Binay.


We seem to have lost the line for Mr. Binay. We'll move to the next question. The next question is from the line

of Mr. Jinesh Gandhi from Motilal Oswal. Please go ahead.

Jinesh Gandhi:

Hi, sir. A couple of clarifications on the margins. So, this quarter, you indicated the benefit of softening in

precious metal. Would you say the full benefit is not yet completely reflected in 2Q, given that the meltdown

was a second-half phenomenon in 2Q? And do you expect further benefit on forex side?

Ajay Seth:

The majority of the benefit has already come in the second quarter. But we still see some softening in the precious

metal commodity prices. And if they continue to soften, then, of course, the prices can go down even further.

But on the contrary, the steel prices are going up. So, as we mentioned, we will have to see the basket of

commodities, not just the precious metals, but also steel, which is almost half of the commodity basket. Both will

pan out in the second quarter.

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Jinesh Gandhi:

Okay. And similarly, on the forex side, we have seen a very smart move on JPY-INR, which given your vendor

input, comes with a quarter's lag. So, do you expect that to be a reasonably favorable factor going forward? As

you indicated in 2Q, we had limited benefit on the forex side.

Ajay Seth:

Yes. So, the yen continues to depreciate against the dollar and is currently close to 150. And last quarter, we

were around 140 and 145. So, there could be some benefit of forex that we can see, depending on how the final

rates end up in the second quarter and in the third quarter.

Jinesh Gandhi:

Right. And the last clarification is on capex. So, you indicated INR8,000 crores in FY '24, close to about

INR5,000 crores in second half. Does this INR8,000 crores also include SMGs capex, which you are doing on

BEV capacity as well as battery plant?

Ajay Seth:

No. This capital expenditure is purely of MSIL.

Jinesh Gandhi:

Okay. And now, given that you are proposing to take over SMG, what kind of capital expenditure would SMG

be doing in FY '24?

Ajay Seth:

So, that should be considered after we finalize the budgets. That exercise is already on. Once we do that, then

we will know what the capital expenditure for both the companies will be?

Jinesh Gandhi:

Got it. And in Suzuki's presentation, which was uploaded a couple of days back, there was a reference to the

increasing capacity of the battery electric vehicle at SMG. Any information on the kind of capacity addition

happening over and above the 7,50,000 capacity of SMG?

Ajay Seth:

We'll have to look at the market demand and then decide.

Jinesh Gandhi:

Okay. Because there was INR3,100 crores capex earmarked for that. So, I thought that might have been finalized.

Okay. No worries. Cool. I'll come back in queue.


Thank you. The next question is from the line of Mr. Binay from Morgan Stanley. Please go ahead. Mr. Binay,

you may go ahead with the question.


Hi, team. Thanks for the opportunity. When you talk about drivers of good margins, we've not talked about the

mix, your SUV share going up. So, is that implied because or you think that it's not a big driver for margins?

Rahul Bharti:

So, we talk about blended margins overall for the company. And these factors keep on changing depending upon

the market conditions, which segment is growing by how much. And so, this keeps on changing. That's the reason

we don't look at this factor much.


Second here, just when we look at the overall demand environment, we're talking about 18% growth in the festive

season and 5% growth for the whole year, for the industry. How do you tie up this sort of wide range? Is the

festive demand predominantly driven by order books being fulfilled because there was a production issue earlier?

Rahul Bharti:

Sorry, what is it that you're trying to reconcile? Which numbers?


Like, for example, the festive Y-o-Y growth we are talking about is 18% for the industry, whereas the growth in

the demand for cars for the year will be about 5%. So, in that sense, there is a huge range in the growth rates,

right? 18% is a very good growth number, whereas 5% is more moderate. Obviously, if there were order

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