November car sales were upbeat for most companies, except Toyota Kirloskar Motor, Honda Cars India and Tata Motors. December is likely to be drastically different due to the heavy downpour in Chennai and its suburbs that have disrupted operations of many car makers.
Renault, Hyundai, Ford and BMW with manufacturing facilities around India's fourth largest metropolis have been hit by Chennai floods in the first week of December. A sharp fall in production, domestic sales and exports looks inevitable, after the industry recorded decent growth in October and November.
Renault India reported a 144% growth in domestic sales in November 2015 at 7,819 cars as compared to 3,201 units in November 2014 (y-o-y), apparently driven by Renault Kwid.
Hyundai registered 6.2% y-o-y growth at 57,661 units, Maruti Suzuki reported 10.6% growth at 1.10 lakh units and Mahindra & Mahindra domestic car sales grew 21% at 41,950 units.
Ford Motors India sold 8,773 units in India, 54.97% more than the 5,661 units sold last November.
The three companies had spoken about suspending their operations due to Chennai floods.
Honda Cars India (14,712 units), Toyota Kirloskar Motor (10,278 units) and Tata Motors (10,517 units) sold less cars, y-o-y.
In fact, in November, the industry followed up its good April to October 2015 growth of 8.51%, y-o-y, according to industry body, Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers Siam).
Hyundai's plant at Sriperumbudur, Kanchipuram district, has a capacity to produce about 6.8 lakh units annually, while Ford Motors' plant at Maraimalai Nagar, near Chennai, has an annual production capacity of 2 lakh cars and 3.4 lakh engines.
Renault-Nissan Alliance's plant at Oragadam near Chennai has a capacity to produce 4.8 lakh vehicles annually.
Hyundai Motor India produces and sells Eon, i10, Grand i10, Elite i20, Xcent, Verna, Elantra and Santa Fe. Vehicles manufactured at its India plant are not only sold in India but also exported to 85 countries, according to the company.
Ford Motors India manufactures Ford Figo, Ford Fiesta, Ford Classic, Ford Endeavour and the Ford EcoSport at its Maraimalai Nagar facility.
Besides these auto companies, other auto makers also have their plants near Chennai. Royal Enfield factories are in Tiruvottiyur and Oragadam, with a capacity to produce 4.5 lakh units annually.
Ashok Leyland's plant is in Ennore and accounts for about 40% of its production, employing about 5,000 workers.
The commercial vehicle maker sold 8,971 units in November 2015, 16% more than 7,732 units sold in November 2014.
Most of the auto plants near Chennai are believed to be closed since 1 December.
India Yamaha Motor also has its manufacturing facilities near Chennai.
Industry size in India
The automobile industry produced 23.36 million vehicles last financial year, a growth of 8.68% over the previous year. It accounts for about 7% of the country's gross domestic product (GDP).
India's second quarter GDP growth was 7.4%, up from 7.1% in the first quarter but down from 8.4% in the second quarter of 2014. The second quarter was led by the manufacturing sector, which grew 9.3%.
Respite from rain
The city is likely to get some relief from the heavy downpour that has wrought havoc on Chennai and neighbouring districts and Puducherry. From 8 December, there will be significant decrease in rainfall, according to private weather forecaster Skymet.
The death roll in the recent floods in Tamil Nadu has risen to 280.