The Telegraph
Monday , May 13 , 2013
Since 1st March, 1999
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Car sales U-turn seen after rains

New Delhi, May 12: Car makers are banking on a good monsoon and a slew of launches to wade through a slump in sales.

For six months till April, car sales have been falling, and analysts said the depression would persist till the rains were over. The monsoon is considered as a weak period for the industry.

Demand for cars has suffered from weak consumer sentiments and high interest costs.

“The decline in sales is expected to continue for about the next two months and we may see some growth as buyers at the entry- level small car segment have started coming to showrooms after the positive signals in fuel prices,” Sugato Sen, deputy director-general of Siam, said.

In February, car sales plunged 26 per cent, logging its worst performance in 12 years.

However, with the country expecting a normal monsoon, rural purchasing power is likely to rise, helping the sales of cars, motorcycles, off-roaders and tractors.

Car makers are also set to drive in a slew of launches, mostly compact sports utility vehicles, in the next few months. The Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (Siam) is hoping that the launches might be able to brighten the market.

Ford’s EcoSport compact SUV, likely to be launched in the middle of this year, will be competing against Mahindra’s old warhorse Scorpio and Renault’s Duster. EcoSport — the most anticipated launch of the year — is likely to be priced between Rs 7 lakh and Rs 9 lakh.

Nissan may also launch its compact SUV in August 2013, which could be priced between Rs 7.5 lakh and Rs 11.5 lakh.

Hyundai Motors India, which suffered a 7.53 per cent decline in sales at 32,364 units in April compared with 35,000 units in the year-ago period, will launch an upgraded i10 in September and is likely to price it between Rs 3.5 lakh and Rs 6 lakh.

Mahindra and Mahindra will roll out its sub-four meter Verito. The vehicle has managed to garner curiosity among analysts.

General Motors India might introduce a new version of the Beat.