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Car sales tepid; diesel fares better

autos Updated: May 02, 2012 01:14 IST
HT Correspondent

After a spell of three consecutive months of record breaking sales, the automobile industry started feeling the heat of economic slowdown with tepid sales in April.

Market leader Maruti Suzuki reported a mere 3.5% increase in sales last month at 90,255 units, the first time this year when monthly sales have been below the psychological 100,000 mark. Sales of its “petrol only” small cars like M800, Alto, Wagon R, Estilo and A star suffered a 26.4% fall as diesel cars continued to flourish.

The firm’s sales were also propped up by Ertiga, its first foray into the multi utility vehicle segment, that has notched up bookings of over 22,000 units in less than two weeks.

Homegrown Tata Motors and US car majors General Motors and Ford fared even worse. Tata saw its sales decline by 3% while GM registered a 20% drop. Both companies were handicapped by the lack of new models.

“The sales were not on the expected lines as uncertainty in fuel prices, hike in excise duty and local taxes in some states continue to put a lot of pressure,” said P Balendran, vice-president, General Motors. “We are hopeful that the market will improve in the coming months.”

Companies with multiple diesel products fared much better. Toyota and Mahindra and Mahindra for example, witnessed a growth of 49% and 33% respectively during the month.