The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Maruti 800 powers August car sales

New Delhi, Sept. 13: The road ahead seems to be smooth for the car makers: domestic car sales clocked a double digit growth of 14.7 per centó for the first time in the 2002-03 fiscalóin the month of August, as sales of the Maruti 800 grew by 72.15 per cent following a price cut.

The growth was fuelled mostly by higher sales of minis, compacts and to some extent by mid-size sedans as the executive and premium segments registered stagnant sales in August.

Total sales rose for the third successive month to 49,844 cars from 43,457 cars in August 2001, according to data released by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM). The Maruti 800 sold 13,563 units in August against 12,794 in the same month last year.

Maruti also posted the highest sales of 11,277 vehicles in the compact segment, with models like Alto, Zen and Wagon R. However, sales growth was marginal at 0.41 per cent over last Augustís figure of 11,230 vehicles.

Tata Engineering clocked a growth of 44.21 per cent, selling 7,437 Indicas this August as against 5,157 cars a year ago. Sales of the Hyundai Santro grew by 26 per cent to 7,651 cars against 6,050 cars last year in the same month. Fiat Palio sold 2,231 cars in August 2002 as against 537 cars last year.

In the mid-size sedan segment however, General Motors and HM reported lower sales growth for Opel and Lancer, whereas Hyundai, Ford and Maruti recorded stagnant sales.

Only Honda City registered a leap in sales by 53.70 per cent to 1,079 cars in August, from 702 cars a year back. Some 1,089 Ikon cars were sold this time, as against 1,088 cars in the same month last year.

GM registered a fall in sales as its Astra, Corsa and Swing together sold 798 cars against 940 cars in August 2001.

Hyundai Accentís sales fell with just 1,400 units being sold this August, against 1,501 cars in the same month last year. Mitsubishi Lancer also saw sales slide to 1,612 cars against 1,809 cars a year back.

Maruti sold only 1,031 units of the Esteem and Baleno against 1,057 cars sold in this segment in August last year.

However sale in the executive and premium segments remained stagnant. In the executive segment, Daimler sold only 42 units of the C-class against 92 cars sold in the same month last year. In the premium segment, only Hyundai Sonata could keep the sale at 150 units, whereas sales of Daimlerís E-class fell to 20 units and Hondaís Accord fell to 120 cars instead of 211 cars sold last year in August.

Sale of commercial vehicles, an indicator of economic growth, went up 21.3 per cent to 14,490 units against 11,942 units in August 2001, as both medium and heavy vehicles, along with light vehicles witnessed an increase in sales. Cumulative sales in this segment went up by 32.7 per cent at 66,832 units in April-August against 50,328 units in the same period last fiscal.

Two-wheeler sales were 19.5 per cent higher at 3.89 lakh units in August against 3.26 lakh a year back as motorcycle sales surged 37.5 per cent to 2.88 lakh units.

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