After a torrid 2008, the automobile industry is off to a cautious start in the new year with car market leader Maruti and two wheeler giant Hero Honda both returning to positive territory in January. However almost all other companies from Hyundai to Bajaj still remained in the red indicating that the sting of the slowdown was still being felt on the ground.
Country's premier car maker Maruti Suzuki India Ltd returned to black during the month after three successive months of hibernation. The company sold 67,005 units in January, a 5.6 per cent increase over the same month last year.
"We have begun the year well and am confident we have turned the corner," said Mayank Pareek, executive officer marketing and sales. "We do not give forward guidance on how much growth we will clock this year but we have our strategies in place now and will continue to grow this year."
The industry had been hit hard by bearish sentiments aided by the global recession and liquidity crunch which dried up financing options for consumers.
Second and third placed Hyundai and Tata Motors however continued to reel under the negative cues with 13.5 and 8.9 per cent decline respectively.