After a severe mid-year wobble, Indian car companies signed off 2011 on a positive note with robust sales growth in December, even as market leader Maruti Suzuki continued to play spoilsport.
The Japanese company saw its sales slide by over 13% during the month as compared to last year, but its arch rivals Hyundai, Tata and Toyota more than compensated with strong showing.
Homegrown Tata Motors, usually the number 3 in the industry, was the pick of the lot with a near 47% growth in sales to 28,916 units nudging ahead of Hyundai, which sold 400 units less but nevertheless, grew by 12.8%.
Industry sales had slumped for five consecutive months till October. Though that trend was broken in the last two months, companies remain suspicious of a prolonged return to normalcy.
”An increase of 12.8% in sales in December gives us cause for some cheer in a year that has been below expectations," said Arvind Saxena, director marketing and sales, Hyundai Motor India Ltd. "We don’t expect an upturn in the market in the near future.”
In the two wheeler segment, Honda Motorcycle continued to steam ahead and put pressure on TVS for the third spot snatching the position from the Chennai based firm for the second consecutive month.
The leader in scooter segment, Honda grew the fastest at over 36% during the month but remains far behind erstwhile partner Hero MotoCorp. The latter, world's leading two wheeler company, ended the year with a near 8% growth during the month.