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Car Sales Grow Fastest In 30 Months, Two-Wheelers Lag

Tuesday, May 12, 2015
By A Business Reporter

Car sales in India rose by 18.14% in April, the fastest rate of growth in 30 months, as the auto industry continued its journey on the road to recovery riding on improved consumer sentiments, new models and favourable fuel prices. According to the data released by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), domestic passenger car sales in April stood at 1,59,548 units compared with 1,35,054 in the same month of 2014.

"We have started the new fiscal with growth in all the segments, except in three categories. For the passenger cars segment, this is the seventh straight month of growth," SIAM Director General Vishnu Mathur told reporters yesterday. This is the fastest growth rate  witnessed in 30 months."The previous fastest was in October 2012 when we saw a growth of 21.19% at 1,69,788 units," he said.

Mathur, however, cautioned that the industry is yet to make a full turnaround after witnessing slump in the last few fiscals."We are still in the recovery stage. We will say we have fully recovered only when we reach the peak levels. We are far away from that as of now. Currently, not all the companies are showing growth," he said.

Passenger car sales had peaked in March 2012 clocking 2,33,151 units, while that of passenger vehicles had also reported record growth in the same month with 2,95,403 units.

"When the new government took charge last year, it helped in bringing positive consumer sentiments. People began to consider buying instead of postponing. Interest rates have also not risen and moreover lower fuel prices have helped too," Mathur said. The new models launched by companies have also resulted in creating "excitement" in the market and wooing customers."There is also growth in the entry-level car segment, which is also a sign of first time buyers returning to the market," he said said.

During the month, car market leader Maruti Suzuki India posted a growth of 27.97% in domestic sales at 84,188 units as against 65,786 units in the same month last year. Hyundai Motor India also posted a growth of 9.58% at 38,474 units compared with 35,110 units in April last year. Honda Cars India saw sales jump of 8.33% to 11,892 units as against 10,977 units in the same month last year. Homegrown Tata Motors also saw its passenger car sales grow by 57.88% to 8,925 units as against 5,653 units in April 2014.

Utility vehicle major Mahindra saw it sales in April were marginally up at 17,941 units as against 17,857 units in last year. Mathur, however, said that the decline witnessed in the two-wheelers segment, particularly in motorcycles and light commercial segments (LCV), was a cause for concern.

However, in April, motorcycle sales were down 2.77 % at 8,81,751 units from 9,06,909 in the same month of the previous year. Total two-wheeler sales in April were down 0.16 % to 12,87,064 units from 12,89,183 in the year-ago period. "The decline in motorcycle sales is a reflection of the impact of unseasonal rains in the rural market. We will have to watch out for how deficient rains will affect going forward," he added. For the motorcycles segment, this is the seventh straight month of decline in sales, Mathur said.

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