Domestic passenger car sales touched a record 1,89,008 units in February beating the previous high achieved just a month earlier as people advanced their vehicle purchase fearing a possible excise duty hike in the Budget that would have made vehicles costlier.
This is the third time in less than six months that car sales have touched a new peak. Last month's record is expected to stand for some time though.
According to figures released by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) car sales last month grew by 22.6% year on year, bettering the previous high of 1,84,332 units achieved just the previous month. Total vehicles sales across categories grew 21.3% to 13,70,932 units from 11,30,037 units in February 2010.
SIAM has however warned that the growth rates could moderate to around 14-16% in the fiscal year beginning April 1, as challenges like higher interest rates and commodity prices begin to bite.
"At some point, vehicle manufacturers have to rationalise prices (to offset rising input costs). Moreover the base has been growing, so the growth rate will come down," said Vishnu Mathur, director general, SIAM.
The February charge was led by Maruti, which sold 87,851 units, up 19% over last year. Hyundai grew by 4.8%, and Tata Motors by 18.67%.
Sales of two-wheeler, which constitutes over 70% of total sales, increased by 22% to 1,02,2272 units from 8,37,653 units last year. Motorcycle sales grew by 20.8% to 7,76,051 units from 6,42,419 units, driven by market leader Hero Honda, which posted a 22.9% growth in sales to 4,29,928 units.