Domestic vehicle sales in February hit an all-time high of 1,370,932 units, growing by 21.3 per cent over the 1,130,037 units sold in the year-ago period, as customers advanced purchases on fears of a rise in excise duty. The duty, however, has been retained at 10 per cent.
Sales in February bettered the previous high of 1,84,332 units in January this year. The Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (Siam), however, cautioned these could moderate to around 14-16 per cent in the next financial year, since the sector would have to overcome high interest rates and rising commodity prices.
Siam Director-General, Vishnu Mathur, said, “At some point, vehicle manufacturers have to rationalise prices to offset an increase in input costs. Moreover, the base has been growing, so growth rate will come down.” In the April-February period of the current financial year, car sales grew by 30.3 per cent to 17,88,503 units from 13,72,192 units in the same period of the previous financial year. Domestic car sales rose to 189,008 units last month, an increase of 22.6 per cent over the 154,132 units sold in February, 2010.
Last month, the country’s largest car manufacturer, Maruti Suzuki India Limited, registered sales of 101,543 units in the domestic market, a rise of 19.8 per cent over the year-ago period. Hyundai Motor also posted its second-best sales numbers in the domestic market last month, at 32629 units. Two-wheeler sales in February rose 22.04 per cent to 1,022,272 units from 837,653 units in February, 2010.
Sales of scooters rose 27.2 per cent to 185,460 units. Motorcycle sales grew by 20.80 per cent in February to 776,051 units from 642,419 units in the same month last year. The growth was primarily driven by market leader Hero Honda, which posted a 22.9 per cent rise in sales to 4,29,928 units. Bajaj Auto sales rose 16.74 per cent to 2,05,145 units during the month. Three-wheeler sales stood at 49,082 units in February, up 24 per cent from the same month last year, Siam said.
The commercial vehicles segment grew by 10.5 per cent to 64,057 units from 57,977 units a year earlier. According to Siam data, sales of light commercial vehicle rose 9.7 per cent to 32,815 units in February, while medium and heavy commercial vehicles sales stood at 31,242 units during the month, up 11.4 per cent over the same period last year.