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Car sales pick up speed in January

New Delhi, Feb. 1: Car and bike makers have seen strong sales in January on the back of launches and the introduction of new variants.

Maruti Suzuki India the country’s top car maker sold 115,433 units in January against 109,743 a year earlier, a rise of 5.2 per cent and the first increase since May.

Homegrown car makers Tata Motors and Mahindra & Mahindra reported 16 per cent and 22 per cent rise in sales, respectively.

Last year, car sales growth slumped to single digits from over 30 per cent in 2010. The industry expects sales to grow up to 13 per cent in 2012-13 on the back of the new launches and variants.

Maruti Suzuki today rolled out a shorter but lighter and taller version of the Swift Dzire at a starting price of Rs 4.79 lakh, going up to Rs 7.09 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi).

“This is the second new model in our portfolio within six months, it is also an indicator of our ability to offer new models regularly in shorter time spans,” managing director and CEO Shinzo Nakanishi said.

The new Dzire falls under the lower excise tax bracket meant for cars of less than four metres. This has helped Maruti to price the car around Rs 30,000 lower than the earlier model.

The Swift DZire enjoys a market share of over 39 per cent in the entry-level sedan segment. Clocking monthly sales of around 10,000 units, the company expects the new car to strengthen its portfolio.

Sales rose 90 per cent for Toyota Kirloskar Motor to 17,395 units in January, driven by a strong demand for the Etios sedan and small car Liva.

“It’s been a good start to the year with a robust growth. We are happy with the response to the Etios series, the new Innova and the new Fortuner,” marketing managing director Sandeep Singh said.

Meanwhile, the demand for two-wheelers, which had been immune to hikes in interest rates, fuel prices and inflationary pressures for most of 2011, continued to remain strong.

Hero MotoCorp consolidated its leadership by once again reporting monthly sales of over 5 lakh units. Sales rose 11.5 per cent to 5,20,272 units from 4,66,524 units a year ago.

Anil Dua, senior vice-president (marketing & sales) of Hero MotoCorp said, “We are pleased with the trend of over 5 lakh unit sales every month for the past six months, and we are confident of building further on these numbers”.

 
 
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