The domestic automobile industry put up its best-ever monthly sales in January this year. Sales of cars, two-wheelers and trucks grew a mammoth 45 per cent in the month to 11 lakh, compared to 7 lakh last year. Sales have crossed 10 lakhs for six months on a trot for the first time.
Commercial vehicles accounted for the bulk of the growth with its best-ever 130.8 per cent during the month at 53,447 units. Only 23,154 trucks and buses were sold last January.
“This marks the best-ever monthly sales for the industry,” said Dilip Chenoy, director-general, Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM). “Economic growth, lower interest rates and better liquidity have helped sales.”
Sales of cars and utility vehicles stood at 187,605 units, up 36.5 per cent over the same month last year. In absolute terms also, these are the highest-ever sales. The growth was led largely by Hyundai Motor India Ltd, Tata Motors and Maruti Suzuki India Ltd.
Two wheelers, accounting for the lion’s share of the domestic automobile sales, saw a 43 per cent growth in the month with sales of 8.3 lakh. This was the second-highest monthly figure for the segment; its record was logged in September last year.
The buoyancy in sales is expected to continue with a number of new launches. A host of small cars, including Ford Figo, Volkswagen Polo and Toyota Etios, are expected to hit the roads later this year.
India is one of the few markets in the world to have witnessed double-digits growth in the 2009-10 fiscal year, and projections indicate that the size of the domestic car market will double in six years from the current 1.8 million per annum.
February is also likely to be a high volume month as a removal of fiscal sops as part of the stimulus package is expected in the coming budget. Excise duty on cars was reduced by 4 per cent in December 2008, bringing duties on small cars down to 8 per cent and on bigger ones to 20 per cent.