Passenger car sales in the domestic market during 2011-12 had their slowest growth in two years, of only 2.2 per cent to 2,016,115 units, on the back of high interest rates and rising fuel prices.
Car sales’ earlier marked slowing was during the global economic slowdown of 2008-09, when volumes had grown 1.4 per cent. It had bounced back to 29 per cent growth in 2010-11.
The Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (Siam) on Tuesday projected passenger car sales growth at 10-12 per cent in 2012-13, on better macro economic prospects. For the overall industry, it has projected growth of 10-12 per cent for 2012-13, as against 12.2 per cent in 2011-12.
“This was the first time car sales in the country crossed two million units. A late surge of sales in the last quarter of the fiscal helped, specially in March, as buyers advanced purchases ahead of the Budget With prospects of interest rates stabilising and even reducing, we expect sales to pick up in the current fiscal,” said S Sandilya, president, Siam.
In March, car sales rose 19.7 per cent to 229,866 units, from 192,105 units in the same month last year.
Sandilya said 2011-12 had seen the industry hit by high interest rates, inflation and rising fuel prices. More, a strike at the country's largest car maker, Maruti Suzuki’s Manesar plant had also affected availability.
In 2011-12, market leader Maruti had posted sales of 1,006,316 units, a decline of 11.5 per cent. Rival Hyundai Motor grew 8.2 per cent to 388,779 units. Sandilya said the year saw India maintaining its position as the fifth largest car producing nation in the world.
According to Siam, total two-wheeler sales were 13,435,769 units in 2011-12 against 11,768,910 units in 2010-11, up 14.2 per cent. While motorcycle sales went up 12 per cent to 10,096,062 units, scooter sales shot up 24.5 per cent, to 2,562,841 units.
“Two-wheelers continue to show good growth. While motorcycles are on a big base, there is still growth and the share of rural sales has reached 40 per cent of the total,” said Sandilya. Siam has pegged the motorcycle segment to grow 10-12 per cent in FY13 and scooters by 15-17 per cent.
On commercial vehicles, Siam said total sales in FY12 were 809,532 units, up 18.2 per cent. The segment is pegged to grow by nine to 11 per cent in FY13.
“The segment is cyclic and we do foresee some moderation of growth, considering issues related to the mining sector,” he said. Adding that if the government went ahead with the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission, sales of buses could pick up.
For the three-wheeler segment, that saw a decline of 2.4 per cent at 513,251 vehicles in FY12, Siam has projected five to seven per cent growth.