For any sceptic who had doubted that the downturn in the domestic automobile sector is a thing of the past, the sales figures of October surely provide a fitting reply.
Frentic buying activity in the Diwali festival season coupled with the extra spark of numerous new launches in the last two months, saw car and two wheeler sales go through the roof during the month, with all major automakers posting healthy growth.
Maruti Suzuki India, for instance, posted a 21 per cent jump in domestic sales at 71,551 units in October compared to the same period last year. Hyundai Motor India's (HMIL) sales for the month stood at 28,301 units — up 41.4 per cent over a year ago.
Commenting on the company's performance in October, Arvind Saxena, senior vice president, marketing and sales, HMIL, said, “The festive period of the last two months generated strong sales and has given the Indian automobile industry some respite from the sluggish performance of the last few months. Now it looks that this period of strong sales would propel the industry into a positive double digit growth for the remainder of the year. This might be the turning point the Indian automobile industry has been waiting for.”
Meanwhile the country's second largest two-wheeler maker, Bajaj Auto, which had been hit hard by the downturn last year, also reported a 51 per cent increase in its two-wheeler sales at 249,974 units, signalling the end of bumpy ride for the Pune based automaker.
“Bajaj motorcycles grew 52 per cent in October 2009, despite several supply constraints. Bajaj is confident of maintaining this growth rate for the rest of 2009-10,” the company said in a press release.
The high base finally seems to have caught up with market leader Hero Honda, which reported flat sales at 354,156 units — a meagre 0.48 per cent up from last year.
With its wider presence in the rural heartland, Hero Honda was one of the few companies that were not impacted by the global downturn last year.
“We have been consistently building on our sales performance all through this year, and are happy to have clocked this healthy sales number in October given the large base of the previous year," said Anil Dua senior vice resident marketing and sales Hero Honda Motors. “It comes on back of a record retail sales achievement during the just-concluded festival season.”