A listless start to the festive season saw domestic passenger car sales decline nearly 4% in October and the industry now looks set to post a second straight year of decline this fiscal. Twowheelers, however, provided the silver lining, led by motorcycles whose sales grew 18% to 1,105,103 units during the month.
Last month, manufacturers shipped 163,199 passenger cars to their dealerships against 169,788 units last year according to figures released by industry body Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM). Weak economic sentiment hampered by high interest rates and fuel prices, which have been prevailing for much of this year prevailed over the festivities as well.
Market leader Maruti Suzuki India posted a marginal decline in domestic sales at 79,040 units. Ditto for archrival Hyundai Motor India that registered 35,973 sales units — the gains of its recent launch Grand i10 offset by the decline of i10. Tata Motors’ domestic passenger car sales crashed by a third to 10,944 units while Mahindra & Mahindra saw its utility vehicle sales down 13.18% to 22,034 units.
“We continue to see a decline in car sales. In today’s economic scenario of high inflation and interest rates, the middle class (the major customers of cars) is the worst hit,” said Vishnu Mathur, directorgeneral, SIAM. “The only positive thing is the demand from the rural market, else the slide would have been much steeper For this fiscal, we are staring at a decline.”
Rural demand brought cheer for the two-wheeler industry Scooter sales continued to grow robustly by nearly 24%.
Car sales declined for a record nine months till July this year but grew in August and September.