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Auto sales dive south in October

Despite three major festivals — Dussehra, Eid and Diwali —falling in the same month, the downturn in the automotive industry only got worse in October.

autos Updated: Nov 02, 2008 20:37 IST
Sumant Banerji

This was exactly what the doctor did not order and the industry was silently afraid of. Despite three major festivals — Dussehra, Eid and Diwali —falling in the same month, the downturn in the automotive industry only got worse in October.

With November and December traditionally being lean months, any hope of a revival in sales in the rest of the fiscal is now all but over.

All auto companies that have released their sales figures for the month, have recorded either a decline or much lower growth in October compared to rest of the year. This indicated that rather than pulling the industry out of the slump, October has pushed it deeper.

“I am not satisfied with the demand in the festive season,” said H S Lheem, managing director, Hyundai Motor India Ltd. “I wanted a 30-35 per cent growth but what we got is much less. Adverse market situation is impacting demand.”

Market leader Maruti Suzuki’s decline is the big surprise and caps a below par fiscal for them and the industry so far. Its sales declined by over 8 per cent during the month and the company now has only marginal growth in the first seven months of the fiscal.

“We had everything going for us this month and everybody expected high growth,” said Mayank Pareek, executive officer, marketing and sales, MSIL. “But our strategy was different and we wanted to clear stocks with our dealers.”

It’s the same story for the rest as well. Contrary to logging the expected double digit growth in the month, Hyundai grew by only 9.9 per cent as opposed to 26.6 per cent for the fiscal while Bajaj saw a 33.8 per cent dip against the marginal
0.2 per cent growth in April-October period.