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Auto industry slump continues as car sales drop 8% in January

Greater Noida, Feb 11 (PTI): Car sales in India fell for the fourth straight month in January this year, declining 7.59 per cent on the figure for January 2013, prompting the industry body to seek government support in the interim Budget.

According to data released by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), domestic car sales added up to at 1,60,289 units in January this year compared with 1,73,449 in the same month of 2013.

Adding to the problem, the slump in the commercial vehicles continued, and sales of heavy and medium fell for the 23rd consecutive month.

“The downward trend continues. There is no respite for the auto industry. We are having a huge hope from the government that in the vote-on-account Budget, there will be some support for the auto industry,” SIAM Deputy Director General Sugato Sen told reporters on the sidelines of the Auto Expo here.

He said the situation now is worse than that in 2008-09, when the government had provided relief to the industry with policy support.

“We are hoping that there will be reduction in excise duty. For the CV segment, we have been asking for a fleet modernisation scheme and also implementation of load management,” Sen said but did not specify the exact amount of excise duty cut the industry body was expecting.

Heavy Industries Minister Praful Patel has already written to the Finance Ministry seeking reduction in excise duty on commercial vehicles to 8 per cent from 12 per cent.

At present, automobiles attract excise duty ranging from 12-30 per cent, Sen said.

Reflecting the sluggish market, Maruti Suzuki India, the market leader in cars, posted a 6.88 per cent decline in its domestic sales at 82,461 units January this year as against 88,557 in the same month last year.

Hyundai Motor India Ltd also posted a decline in the same month, of 2.61 per cent to 33,351 units, as compared to 34,247 vehicles in January last year. Tata Motors saw its sales decline by 24.38 per cent to 8,463 units in January from 11,192 in the same month last year.

Honda Cars India, however, saw its sales increase nearly three-fold to 15,597 units in the month from 5,421 in January 2013.

Sen said the industry is hoping that “the positivity created by the Auto Expo with the 70 new unveilings and launches will at least help in exciting the market”.

According to SIAM data, total commercial vehicle sales were down by 20.93 per cent to 49,987 units from 63,218 units, while that of M&HCV were also down by 17.42 per cent at 15,769 units as against 19,095 units in the same month last year.

”For the total CV segment, this is the ninth month of decline, while for M&HCV it is the 23rd month of consecutive decline,” Sen said.

Motorcycle sales in January grew by 4.04 per cent to 9,22,323 units from 8,86,521 in the same month last year.

Market leader Hero MotoCorp saw its domestic bike sales decline marginally to 4,89,322 units in January from 4,94,109 in the year-ago month. Its rival Bajaj Auto said sales declined by 14.36 per cent to 1,67,869 units from 1,96,023 in the same month last year.

Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India (HMSI), however, bucked the trend, posting a growth of 45.26 per cent at 1,53,930 units as compared to 1,05,968 in January last year.

Total two-wheeler sales in January 2014 grew by 8.85 per cent to 13,13,796 units from 12,06,931 in the same period of previous year, SIAM said.

Scooter sales during the month grew by 28.19 per cent to 3,23,162 units as against 2,52,094 in january last year.

HMSI led the growth with 59.65 per cent jump at 1,76,831 units as compared to 1,10,757 units in January last year. Hero MotoCorp also posted a growth of at 20.48 per at 64,737 units as against 53,732 in the year-ago month.

Chennai-based saw its scooter sales grow by 19.72 per cent to 43,502 units from 36,335 in January 2013.

Total sale of vehicles across categories registered a growth of 3.75 per cent to 16,19,689 units in January 2014 as against 15,61,130 in the year-ago period, SIAM said.


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