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Last-hour auto rush

- Dhanteras eve sale relief for dealers

Car sales slipped a bit this Dhanteras compared to last year, but the surge in demand at the eleventh hour sparked a positive sentiment in the auto sector.

About 1,900 cars were sold in the run-up to Dhanteras. Last year, around 2,300 vehicles were sold. Auto dealers blamed the surge in fuel price for the nearly 13 per cent drop in sales compared to 2011.

“This year, we have witne-ssed a drop in car sales by aro-und 15 per cent in comparison to last year’s Dhanteras. But despite all odds, there has been a positive sentiment among car buyers and that’s why we could do a good business at the end of the day,” a senior manager of a car showroom told The Telegraph.

Diesel cars were in great demand during Dhanteras. But petrol cars, particularly those in the hatchback segment, also found many takers because of the traffic congestion in the city and better mileage.

The country’s largest car manufacturer, Maruti, sold more than 570 cars through its three showrooms during Dhanteras.

Maruti dealer VAU’s Automobiles’ director Rakesh Prasad Singh told The Telegraph: “We have sold about 200 cars on the Dhanteras day. Of them, as many as 175 were small cars. There was a positive sentiment in the market because of Dhanteras and Diwali but we can certainly say that there is no boom in the car market yet.”

An official of Karlo Automobile, another Maruti dealer, said: “We are in a better position in comparison to last Dhanteras as there was a strike at the manufacturing plant in Gurgaon. It had hit the delivery of cars last Dhanteras.”

The two Hyundai dealers in the city together sold 248 cars on the occasion of Dhanteras. Piyush Ranjan, an employee of Hyundai dealer Krrish Auto, said the outlet sold 148 cars. Around 25 customers had to return empty-handed as the company was not in a position to deliver them cars.”

Honda registered booking for 90 cars in the run-up to Dhanteras. “We could deliver only 60 cars on the auspicious day because the trucks transporting the rest of the vehicles were caught in jam,” Harshendra Kumar, the director of Vaishali Honda, said.

Mahindra & Mahindra sold 400 vehicles, while Tata Motors’ 300 units were booked. Toyota sold 40 four-wheelers, Ford registered sale of 69 cars and Chevrolet delivered 120 vehicles this Dhanteras, claimed their respective dealers.