New Delhi, Mar 11 (PTI): Passenger car sales growth rate in India plunged to a 12-year low in February, falling off by 25.71 per cent to 1,58,513 units in the face of high fuel prices, interest rates and low consumer sentiments.
With just a month left for the financial year to end, the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) said it was certain that car sales growth would be in negative territory in 2012-13, the first decline since 2002-03, as it would miss the forecast of 0-1 per cent for current year.
“The decline in car sales in February was the biggest since December 2000, when sales declined by 39.86 per cent. The market continues to be extremely difficult as high fuel prices, interest rates and overall macro economic factors are adding to low consumer sentiments,” SIAM Deputy Director General Sugato Sen told reporters here.
According to the data SIAM, domestic car sales in February 2012 was at 2,13,362 units.
During the month, market leader Maruti Suzuki India posted a decline of 10.89 per cent at 83,865 units as against 94,118 units in the same month last year.
Rival Hyundai Motor India Ltd also reported a decline, of 7.42 per cent to 33,936 units as compared to 36,658 units.
Tata Motors domestic sales plunged to 7,769 units in February this year as against 28,236 units in the same month last year.
When asked if the announcements in the Budget for 2013-14 can give a boost to the auto industry, he said it had some positives for the overall sector but higher taxes on SUVs or sports utility vehicles, the fastest-growing segment, have been a dampener.
“The feedback we have received from the companies is that in the next three-four months they don't see any significant improvement, even new model launches are unlikely to lift the sentiments. They are, however, optimistic that in the second half of the year sales may again pick up,” Sen said.
When asked about the forecast, he said: “Usually, the last month of the fiscal (March) is the highest selling. Even of that were to happen this year, we are unlikely to meet our forecast of a growth of 0-1 per cent as we are down by 4.64 per cent in the April-February period this year.”
According to the latest SIAM data, domestic motorcycle sales in last month declined by 4.48 per cent to 8,00,185 units from 8,37,743 units in the same month previous year.
Market leader Hero MotoCorp posted a decline of 7.13 per cent at 4,36,954 units. Rival Bajaj Auto also saw its sales by 12.4 per cent to 1,78,632 units in during the month. Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India, however, posted a growth of 30 per cent at 97,684 units.
Total two-wheeler sales in February 2013 declined by 2.77 per cent to 11,12,289 units from 11,43,982 units in the same period of previous year.
SIAM, however, said scooter sales were in the positive territory posting a growth of 2.55 per cent in February this year at 2,43,346 units as against 2,37,306 units in the same month last year.
HMSI saw a decline of 4.02 per cent in its scooter sales in February this year at 1,17,460 units. Hero MotoCorp, however, saw its sales grow by 31.9 per cent to 51,976 units.
The other significant player TVS Motor Co posted a decline of 15.97 per cent in its scooter sales at 29,237 units in February this year.
Total sales of commercial vehicles declined by 11.06 per cent to 68,388 units from 76,891 units in the year-ago period, SIAM said.
Three-wheeler sales during the month grew by 4.45 per cent at 44,117 units as against 42,236 units in February 2012.
Total sales of vehicles across categories registered a decline of 5.45 per cent to 14,51,278 units in February 2013 as against 15,34,910 units in the same month of 2012, it added.