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In drought year, it’s raining cars

Shrugging off any inertia from the global slowdown, the domestic automotive industry is gearing up for big sales in the second half of this fiscal with most automakers claiming the worst is well and truly over.

autos Updated: Aug 28, 2009 23:01 IST
HT Correspondents

Shrugging off any inertia from the global slowdown, the domestic automotive industry is gearing up for big sales in the second half of this fiscal with most automakers claiming the worst is well and truly over.

Almost all major players in the industry which had congregated at Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers' (SIAM) annual convention, said they are ramping up capacities, expecting double-digit growth for the remaining part of the year and lining up numerous launches across segments.

Even the spectre of a drought that generally has a resultant negative impact on rural markets, failed to dampen the optimism.

“The worst is over I presume. Last year in October, the situation was worse,” said R C Bhargava, Chairman, Maruti Suzuki India Ltd. “I don’t think we are going back to those figures again. I am looking at an optimistic future. The lack of monsoons has not had any significant impact on us so far and we don’t think it will in future as well.”

After a decline in sales during October-December period last year, the situation in the domestic market improved. But even then the overall growth in sales between January-July this year over last year has been a mere 6 per cent.

While that is much better than overall world automobile sales which slid by 18 per cent and some of the developed markets like US (-35 per cent), Russia (-49 per cent), Western Europe (-10 per cent), it is lower than Brazil (+4 per cent) and China (+30 per cent).

“The quarter is showing good results and we hope the festive season will be much better than last year,” said Jnaneshwar Sen, vice-president, marketing, Honda Siel Cars India. “We are looking at far better numbers in the coming months.”