The domestic passenger car sales slid for the third straight month topping the industry’s worst ever performance in a quarter in the three years as the spectre of a lackluster festive season gained even larger proportions.
Car sales in September fell 1.8% to 165,925 units and though this was better than the previous two months, it remained below expectations. The fag end of the month saw the commencement of the month-long festive period and wholesale data, which was provided by The Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM).
Car firms themselves seem to be in a pessimistic mood indicated by an even steeper decline in production of vehicles that was down 9.4% during the month over the same period last year. Clearly, building stockpiles to cater to crowded showrooms is not in the offing.
“There is always more action during a festive season compared to other months but compared to other years, this year seems to be subdued,” said S Sandilya, president, SIAM.
SIAM itself lowered its growth target for the fiscal year 2011-12, for the second time this fiscal. The cut was sharper this time.
Projections of car sales growth has now come down from a high of 18% in April to possibly a low of just 2%. The most optimistic figure that SIAM has doled out is 4% that would make 2011-12 the slowest since 2008-09 when car sales growth had tapered off to 1.39%.
For the overall industry however, what augers well is the robust performance of the two wheeler segment that constitutes the majority of automotive sales in the country.
Two wheeler sales grew by 24% in September and is forecast to grow between 13 and 15% for the full fiscal. That pushed overall industry growth last month to 19.4% and for this fiscal it is projected to grow by 11-14%.
Carmakers, however, would only frown at these numbers.