Car sales stay in slump mode, companies glum on prospects

HT Correspondent , Hindustan Times
New Delhi
First Published: 11:12 IST(2/1/2014)
Last Updated: 18:07 IST(2/1/2014)
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The domestic automobile industry signed off 2013 on a bleak note as even all-time high discounts failed to entice consumers to the showrooms.

The two largest car makers in the country, Maruti and Hyundai, managed to post single-digit growth while the others stayed deep in the red in December. Maruti reported a 5.5% rise in sales year-on-year, while Hyundai logged a 6.2% growth, largely on the back of its recentlylaunched small car, the Grand i10.

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“This has been one of the most challenging years for the automobile industry with sales declining in 11 of the 12 months,” said Rakesh Srivastava, senior vice-president, Hyundai India. “Next year can only get better from here, but for now I would expect a low single-digit growth for the industry for 2014.”

Utility vehicle major Mahindra and Mahindra posted a steep 28% decline in sales, underlining the market’s loss of appetite for SUVs. Toyota and General Motor saw sales slide by 12% and 19% respectively. Ford India’s domestic sales went down by 10% even though it had a new product, compact SUV EcoSport.

A host of manufacturers such as Tata motors, Honda, Skoda, Volkswagen, Renault and Nissan did not release their sales figures on Wednesday.

“The past year has been extremely challenging for the automobile sector. Despite highest level of discounts in December, footfall in showrooms failed to pick-up,” said P Balendran, vicepresident, GM India. “The outlook for the industry remains grim in the short-term as the dampeners like slow economic growth, high inflation and fuel costs continue to pose challenges. Unless the government offers a stimulus package, the market is unlikely to see any upturn before a new government assumes office.”


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