The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Car sales up 28% in April

New Delhi, May 14: Domestic passenger car sales leapt by 28 per cent in April to 42,506 units from 33,195 units in the same month last year, the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) said today.

SIAM said in a statement that sales of commercial vehicles, trucks and buses combined were 11,844 units in April, up from 11,397 a year ago.

But scooter sales dipped by 20 per cent to 55,536 units during the month under review from 69,728 units in the year-ago period. However, motorcycle sales rose 6.1 per cent to 3,03,792 units from 2,86,313 units in the same period of 2002-03.

Combined vehicle sales, domestic and foreign, at the country’s biggest carmaker, Maruti Udyog Ltd, a unit of Japan’s Suzuki Motor Corp, leapt 45.8 per cent in April year-on year to 28,817 units as a tax cut two months earlier continued to drive demand.

The government, which holds 45.54 per cent of Maruti, plans to unload 25 per cent of the carmaker through an initial public offer (IPO) this fiscal. Suzuki holds the rest 54.4 per cent in the company.

Maruti, which sells 11 models in India, including cars, multi-purpose and utility vehicles, had a 50.8 per cent slice of the domestic car market in 2002-03 (April-March) due to its dominance of the small car segment.

The combined sales of Tata Engineering’s Indica and Indigo models surged to 6,533 units in the reporting month from 1,831 units a year ago. Also, Korean firm Hyundai Motor along with Japanese major Honda registered a rise in sales.

However, vehicle sales of Fiat India, which manufactures and markets Palio and Sienna brand of cars, tricked down to only 739 units from 4,203 units in the same month last fiscal. Vehicle sales also dipped for General Motors, Hindustan Motors and Ford India.

In the past year to March, Indian domestic car sales rose 6.4 per cent, commercial vehicles jumped 30.4 per cent while sales of motorcycle sales in the world’s second-biggest market soared 28.4 per cent.

The budget in February cut excise duty or production tax on cars and utility vehicles to 24 per cent from 32 per cent, leading Maruti and other manufacturers to reduce prices by over 5 per cent. The price drops boosted industry sales by 15.2 per cent in March and by 28 per cent in April.

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