In March 2012, sales showed an upward surge of 20.6 percent to a record 292,118 units, according to the data released by the leading industry body, the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers. The fluctuation in the good fortune was due to buyers advancing purchases on apprehensions of duty increases in the Union budget.
Market leader Maruti Suzuki clocked a modest growth of 3.6 percent last month, to 90,255 units. What is more, MSIL's sales grew on the back of demand for the new launches of Maruti Suzuki Swift and the sedan Maruti Suzuki Swift DZire. While demand for premium hatchbacks and the entry-level sedan went up by 43 percent and 32 percent, respectively, its bread winner, Alto segment continued to show a decline in sales growth. Sales in that category (M800, Alto, A-Star, WagonR) dipped by over a fourth, to 30,720 units, said the report.
Tata Motors too had experienced the sales of its small car, Tata Nano slipping by a fifth to 8,028 units. Furthermore, passenger vehicles sales of Tata Motors declined three percent to 22,658 units in April this year. According to industry grapevine, what with interest rates remaining high, entry-level buyers are being cautious and deferring the buying plans, which have led to a slowing in sales, particularly in the small car segment.
General Motors, basking on glory of its spurt in sales of diesel version of its small car, the Chevrolet Beat (launched last year), also saw sales declining by 20 percent to 8,005 units. P Balendran, vice president, General Motors India, said: “Sales were not on expected lines, as uncertainty in fuel prices, hike in excise duty and in local taxes in some states continue to put a lot of pressure on the automobile market. Also, a lot of purchases were advanced by customers in February and March, fearing duty hikes in the Union budget. With the Reserve Bank going for a CRR (banks’ cash reserve ratio) cut to improve market liquidity and reducing repo rates by 50 basis points, we expect the market to improve in the coming months".
SIAM has predicted a growth of 10-12 percent for the passenger vehicles segment in the current financial year. Noting that the optimism was guarded even among those which managed to post strong growth in April, the report went on to add that Toyota Kirloskar Motor saw sales grow 49 percent on the back of the new Toyota Innova and the Toyota Etios series, to 143,78 units. Yet, it remains wary of the mood in the market, the report argued.
Sandeep Singh, Deputy Managing Director (Marketing), TKM said: 'The Toyota Etios series, Toyota Innova, Toyota Fortuner continued to register growth in April. However, the market sentiments seem to be low, with enquiry levels going down across the industry'. For a full report, visit http://automotivehorizon.sulekha.com/