There was no pre-budget cheer for the domestic automobile industry. No post-budget one either.
Major car manufacturers posted dismal sales in February, indicating that customers were neither lured by temptations of purchasing cars before the budget to beat any possible excise duty hike, nor by the generous discounts on offer.
Overall, February may end up to be one of the worst months for car sales in the current fiscal year. With the budget not providing any sops to the sector, the future looks grim and the industry looks set to register its first annual decline this year in over a decade.
India's largest car maker Maruti Suzuki India Ltd and its Korean arch rival Hyundai Motor reported single-digit decline in sales last month over the previous year. But it was Tata Motors that suffered the most with a 74% dip in sales. The company, which was number 2 last February, has now slipped to the fifth spot.
Others did not fare any better.
Toyota saw sales fall by over 23%, clearly indicating that demand for its utility vehicles, which had propped up its numbers for much of last year, was wearing off. The additional 3% increase in excise duties on SUVs is likely to create further problems for the Japanese car maker.
US car majors General Motors and Ford also suffered heavy double-digit decline as did Honda.
The only companies to post a growth were Mahindra and Mahindra and Renault, the former benefiting from its strength in rural India and the latter helped by Duster and a low base.