Car sales show positive growth

April 2009 was another good month for passenger car sales as the effect of the government stimulus packages continued to bring in buyers due to cheaper and more readily available finance.

Autocar Pro News DeskBy Autocar Pro News Desk calendar 18 May 2009 Views icon2008 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
Car sales show positive growth
Light truck sales grew thanks to the popularity of the Tata Ace, while two-wheeler sales also contributed in a decent manner. However, medium and heavy truck sales still showed big declines compared to the previous year, due to sluggish economic activity.

Overall, the passenger vehicles segment recorded a growth of 4.36 percent in April 2009. Passenger cars grew by 4.20 percent, utility vehicles by 0.54 percent and multi-purpose vehicles by 15.52 percent in this period.

The new Mahindra Xylo has done particularly well, selling 3,459 units thanks to strong demand from consumers looking to upgrade from traditional UVs. The elections gave Mahindra sales a big boost as its models are particularly well suited for campaigning in rural areas.

The company reported sales of 22,617 units in April 2009, an increase of almost 17 percent compared to the same period last year.

The Tata Indica sold well with 8,633 units moving out of showrooms, a 16 percent growth due to the increasing popularity and supply of the new Indica Vista model. However, the Indigo and Marina sold just 2,569 units, down by about 32 percent over April 2008.

Meanwhile, the Tata SUV range of Sumo and Safari sold 2,208 units, a 40 percent decline. Hence, the company’s passenger vehicle business reported total sales of 13,410 units and an additional 1,205 units sold on behalf of Fiat India. In April last year Tata had sold 14,843 cars and another 400 units for Fiat. Tata’s domestic CV sales in April were 22,847 units, up nine percent compared to the 21,001 units sold in April 2008. This is the first month since September 2008 that Tata showed a year-on-year increase, driven by sales of its LCV sales of 14,794 units. This includes the Ace mini-truck and represents an increase of 52 percent over last year. However, its M&HCV sales were just 8,053 units, down 28 percent over last year. The Fiat Linea, which is sold by Tata dealers, notched 1,100 sales. This stylish, value-for-money saloon clearly seems to have struck a chord with buyers in the mid-size segment.

Another hugely popular model was the Dzire, which sold 6,300 units thanks to its affordable pricing, diesel engine option and that Maruti badge. Maruti sold 71,748 vehicles in April 2009, a solid 15 percent increase over the previous year. This includes 6,891 units that were exported and marks the fourth consecutive month of sales crossing the 70,000-unit mark for the carmaker.

Meanwhile, Hyundai Motor India saw its domestic sales grow by just 3.5 percent, exports by 19.6 percent and cumulative sales by 10.9 percent. Total sales for April were 44,371 units against 40,000 units in April last year. The domestic market accounted for 22,247 units, compared to 21,501 units for the same month last year while exports totaled 22,124 units against 18,499 units in April 2008. According to Arvind Saxena, senior vice-president - marketing and sales, HMIL, "Compared to last year we saw a modest growth in April 2009. We still feel that the market is far from a complete turnaround and it will be a while before we see healthy double-digit growth. We will continue to offer our customers innovative schemes and products to offset the effects of the slowdown.”

Two-wheelers record good growth

The two-wheeler segment grew by 13.71 percent in April 2009 with mopeds, scooters and motorcycles growing at 24.20 percent, 19.91 percent and 12.11 percent respectively. However, the electric two-wheeler segment declined with the growth rate being (-) 36.13 percent. Hero Honda Motors reported a 29.5 percent growth in sales in April at 3,70,575 units as against 2,86,252 in the same month last year. Arch rival Bajaj Auto said it sold 106,000 motorcycles in April from a low of 61,500 units in December last year, a growth of 73 percent. This growth continues to be led by the Bajaj XCD which sold 22,072 units. Bajaj says the positive response to the new Pulsar 150 DTS-i and 180 DTS-i in April is expected to provide further sales momentum.

TVS Motor Company reported sales of 113,000 units in April, an increase of just three percent over last year. Motorcycle sales stood at 53,235 units in comparison to 58,237 units recorded in April 2008 while scooter sales were 18,819 units in April 2009 when compared to 19,034 units last year.

Overall, things are gradually improving for the automotive sector with passenger cars leading the recovery in demand. However, it will still be several months before a sustained and strong recovery gets underway.
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