The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Festive fervour fuels car carousals

New Delhi, Nov. 18: Automobile sales gathered speed in the festive season, with October registering a 33.8 per cent increase as the number of cars sold increased to 45,317 cars, from 33,871 units sold a year ago.

Although the festive month was good for the entry-level, compact and mid-size segments, the higher end executive class, premium segment and luxury segments fared poorly.

Camry, the new entrant from the Toyota stable, sold 111 units while an established D-segment car like Hyundai Sonata managed to sell only 150 units in the reporting month as against the 351 units it sold in October last.

However, data released by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (Siam) showed that total sales were on the rise for the fifth successive month. Sales of Maruti Udyog’s entry level offering—the Maruti 800—rose on the back of huge discounts to 11,364 units from 6,814 units a year ago.

In the compact segment, the Fiat Palio was the only one that saw sales dip to 1,325 units this October from 2,025 units in the same month last year. Other manufacturers in this segment saw a predictable rise in sales. Hyundai saw sales of its flagship model Santro soar 37 per cent to 7,300 from 5,308 last year.

Maruti saw a 33 per cent increase in the sales of its compact offerings ranging from Zen, Alto to Wagon R and sold 10,512 vehicles in October compared with 7,908 vehicles in October last.

Telco’s Indica clocked a 35 per cent rise to 7,192 units in October from 5,325 units a year back. In the mid-size sedan category, General Motors saw its sales dip marginally, selling 590 vehicles against 600 vehicles in October 2001. Mitsubishi Lancer sold only 1,304 units, against 1,561 cars sold in October last year. However, others such as Honda City, Hyundai Accent and even Maruti Esteem and Baleno registered a marginal increase in sales.

In the utility vehicles segment, Mahindra and Mahindra registered a huge growth by selling 2,435 Scorpios and Boleros against 922 vehicles sold in the same month last year. Toyota also sold 1,166 units of the Qualis as against 562 in October.

Continuing with their good run this fiscal, commercial vehicle sales soared 39 per cent to 16,755 units in October. Cumulative sales in this segment increased by 32 per cent to 99,873 trucks and buses.

Sales of utility vehicles went up 15 per cent to 9,730 units in October while cumulative sales in this segment rose modest 3.6 per cent to 60,767 units. Two-wheelers posted a 17.8 per cent rise at 4.75 lakh units. Cumulative sales were higher by 23 per cent at 28.76 lakh units. The rise in two-wheeler sales could be attributed to motorcycle sales that jumped by 28.4 per cent to 3.67 lakh units during October.

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