The Telegraph
Saturday , November 10 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Car sales cash in on festivity

New Delhi, Nov. 9: The festival season jacked up car sales by 23 per cent in October — the highest in almost two years — but companies did not attach much importance to this as the growth was because of a low base last year.

Auto makers sold 1,72,459 cars in October compared with 1,40,105 units in the same month last year, according to data released by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (Siam).

“The car sales growth rate we have achieved this October is the highest since January 2011, which was at 25.27 per cent. In terms of volumes, this is the highest since March this year when it was at 229,866 units,” Siam director-general Vishnu Mathur said.

However, Mathur said it was too early to rejoice as high interest rates and fuel prices, an uncertain economic environment and low consumer sentiments prevailed and had started affecting even the rural markets.

Growth has been marginal if one compares the sales between the festive season last year, which was mainly in September, and this year.

“Comparing September last year and October this year, the growth is just 3.6 per cent. So, once the festive season is over, we will face the challenge again and the next month will be critical,” Mathur said.

Maruti Suzuki India, the country’s biggest car maker, sold 79,811 units in October, up 93.75 per cent from 41,192 units in the same month last year.

Rival Hyundai Motor India Ltd sold 35,722 units against 32,811 units in October 2011, up 8.87 per cent. Tata Motors’ sales were down 21.5 per cent to 16,444 units.

Sales of motorcycles rose 6.7 per cent to 936,122 units, while scooter sales rose 32.39 per cent to 2,79,427 units.

“Sales of scooters have been driven mainly from urban demand and we are seeing good traction in the segment. We are also seeing a trend of lot of women buyers,” Mathur said.

The sports utility vehicle segment witnessed consistent growth with sales at 53,285 units, up 87.74 per cent from last year. Mahindra & Mahindra registered almost a 50 per cent growth at 25,379 units over 16,938 units in the corresponding month last year.