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Domestic passenger car sales rise 25.1% in March

BS Reporter  |  New Delhi 

Sales of passenger vehicles in the domestic market continued to post strong growth rates in March, with sales of ten leading manufacturers increasing by 25.14 per cent to 226,161 units, compared with 180,724 units in the year-ago period.

Maruti Suzuki India Limited (MSIL) and Hyundai Motor India Limited (HMIL), which together account for over 65 per cent of passenger vehicle sales in the country, posted record sales last month. While MSIL’s overall sales (including exports) rose to an all-time high at 121,952 units, HMIL reported record sales of 55,552 vehicles during the month.

Maruti saw its highest sales in the domestic market in March at 1104,24 units, a rise of 38.8 per cent, compared with the 79,530 units sold during the same period last year. This is fifth time that the manufacturer crossed the one-lakh mark in sales in the domestic market in the current financial year. The company’s previous best domestic sales figure was for October 2010, when the company sold 107,555 units.

However, exports, which declined for the sixth consecutive month to 11,528 units, continued to be a concern for the company. The company’s export figures show a decline of 26 per cent over March, 2010. At the close of the financial year, MSIL reported total sales of 1.27 million units, a growth of 24.8 per cent over the previous financial year.

Hyundai, the largest exporter of cars from India, reported positive growth in exports for the first time since April, 2010. The company’s exports rose 0.9 per cent to 23,730 units. HMIL’s domestic sales in March were its third-highest, rising one per cent to 31,822 units. Arvind Saxena, director (marketing and sales), HMIL, said, “With rising interest rates and increasing prices due to higher input costs, the market is less buoyant than what it was last year. HMIL has managed to grow in terms of overall volume, although the rate of growth has slowed down. In the second half of the year, we expect HMIL sales to grow at a faster pace.”

Tata Motors and Honda Siel Cars bucked the trend and posted a decline in sales in March. Tata Motors sales declined marginally to 29,543 units, owing to a drop of about 40 per cent in sales of small car, Indica at 6,937 units. At 8,707 units, Nano sales, however, continued to rise. Sales of the small car had dropped to an all-time low of 509 units in November, 2010.

Honda Siel sales dropped by around 39.7 per cent to 3,576 units from 5,928 units in March 2010. Sales of Jazz reached an all-time low at 152 units. Sales of the City sedan too, recorded a drop of 24 per cent month-on-month, at 2,773 units in March. The company declined to comment on the numbers.

Abdul Majeed, head, automotive practice, PricewaterhouseCoopers said, “March is not a very good indicator for auto sales, as consumers usually buy in the January-February period, before the Budget is announced. which have done well have performed on back of newer models. But overall, the industry saw healthy growth in 2010-11. There are uncertainties which have resulted from the crisis in Japan, the rise in interest rates and inputs costs. Growth rates may moderate in the second quarter of 2011-12.”

Sales of Mahindra &Mahindra passenger vehicle grew by 19 per cent to 17,320 units, compared with 14,609 units in March, 2010.

Two-wheeler sales rise
Two-wheeler makers saw a sustained growth in demand for motorcycles and scooters in March, with Hero Honda, TVS Motors and Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India reporting impressive sales.

Hero Honda, the country’s biggest two-wheeler maker, posted an increase of 24 per cent in sales in March, at 515,852 units, compared to 414,638 units in the same month a year ago. March sales was also the highest monthly sales ever recorded by the company.

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First Published: Sat, April 02 2011. 00:32 IST