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Auto sales cross cross 11 lakh in January

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The Indian auto industry today reported the highest ever sales in a single month at over 11 lakh units in January, boosted by easy availability of retail finance and soft interest rates.

 According to the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), the total sales in domestic market stood at 11,14,157 units, against 7,68,698 units in the year-ago period, a jump of 44.94 per cent.

"This is the highest ever sales by the auto industry ... economic growth, reduced interest rates and better money supply has helped the industry in posting such growth," SIAM Director General Dilip Chenoy told reporters here.

He said the high growth in terms of percentage in January was also contributed by last year's low base. "Reduced commodity prices compared to last year also helped."

The earlier highest sales by the industry was in October, 2006, at 10,17,198 units.

Domestic passenger car segment too posted the highest ever sales at 1,45,905 units, against 1,10,300 units, up 32.28 per cent, in the corresponding month last year. It was the 10th straight month of growth by the segment.

The car manufacturers had earlier touched the peak at 1,29,358 units in March, 2009, Chenoy said.

During the month major manufacturers, including Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai Motor, General Motors and Mahindra & Mahindra reported their individual record breaking sales.

Asked about prospects in February, he said: "It will depend on multiple factors like pent up demand, price rise. Still we will have good growth in the month."

According to SIAM figures, motorcycle sales rose 43.69 per cent to 6,50,633 units past month from 4,52,809 units in January 2009.

Carrying forward the upward march that began in July 2009, sale of commercial vehicles in the country soared over two- fold to 53,447 units, against 23,154 units in the same month in 2009.

In the domestic passenger car segment, sales of market leader Maruti Suzuki increased 18.57 per cent to 70,029 units in January from 59,060 units in the year-ago period.

The country's second largest carmaker, Hyundai Motor India, also registered 40.86 per cent growth at 29,601 units compared with 21,015 units in January 2009, SIAM said.

Tata Motors' sales rose to 22,707 units from 15,406 units in January 2009, up 47.39 per cent.

In the motorcycle segment, market leader Hero Honda's sales moved up 23.98 per cent to 3,66,050 units in January 2010 compared to 2,95,241 units in the year-ago month.

Rival Bajaj Auto's sales soared nearly three-fold to 1,79,212 units, against 66,207 units.

Chennai-based TVS Motor Company, too, posted 31 per cent growth at 39,654 units from 30,271 units in the same month a year ago. Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India saw its bike sales rise 9.53 per cent to 40,174 units from 36,677 units .

SIAM said the total two-wheeler sales in January 2010 surged by 43.43 per cent to 8,34,383 units from 5,81,729 units in the corresponding month in 2009.