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Vroom boom in Mumbai

mumbai Updated: Oct 22, 2010 00:47 IST
Sachin Dave & Shashank Rao

Nirav Joshi (28), a HR executive with a pharma company, is all excited about buying a Volkswagen Polo this Diwali. Last Tuesday, he paid the token amount and will take delivery of his silver, fully loaded hatchback on Diwali.

Joshi is the face of the new customer, who is more secure about his finances as the gloom of the downturn wears off.

On Dussehra, considered an auspicious day to make purchases, 1,412 vehicles were added to Mumbai’s roads. Though it was a Sunday, the regional transport offices (RTOs) stayed open because of the festival.

On an average, 200 vehicles are added to Mumbai’s roads. That is, 6,000 a month.

On Dhanteras (November 4) and Diwali day (November 5), industry experts said, the number of vehicles delivered to customers would be even higher.

In the first fortnight of October, the start of the festive season, 9,237 vehicles were sold in Mumbai. By the end of the month, vehicle sales may touch an all-time high, said dealers and automobile firms’ managements.

While sales on Diwali and Dussehra are always higher, they were muted last year because of the economic downturn.

“I have been saving for about a year. The Sensex touching 20,000 recently was an added advantage,” said Joshi, who already owns a Maruti WagonR.

Industry experts said traditionally hatchbacks are preferred in Mumbai, but this time around sedans and sports utility vehicles may also witness a surge with at least 10 models or variants of existing models being launched in the run-up to Dussehra.

The Andheri RTO, which covers the western suburbs, registered the most vehicles on Dussehra day — 400 two-wheelers and 350 four-wheelers. Wadala, which covers Central Mumbai, came a distant second with 185 two-wheelers and 165 four-wheelers. Mumbai Central, which covers South Mumbai, registered 180 two-wheelers and 132 four-wheelers.

In the first fortnight of October at the Andheri RTO, 4,720 vehicles were registered while 5,457 were registered in all of September 2009 (the festive season was during September last year). Only 837 more registrations are needed this month to cross the September 2009 mark.

At Mumbai Central, the first fortnight of October saw registrations of 2,651 vehicles compared to 2,857 in September 2009. Only 206 more registrations are needed this month to cross the September 2009 mark.

“This season, there was a 25 per cent rise in sales compared to last year. We believe Diwali will witness the best sales figures in the compact segment this fiscal,” said Arvind Saxena, VP (marketing and sales), Hyundai Motors India.

“Maharashtra and Gujarat are the front-runners in sales, which picked up around Navratri and peaked on Dussehra. Bookings for Diwali are on in full swing,” said Tatsuya Natsume, director (marketing), Honda Siel Cars India.

Nitin Dossa, president of the Western India Automobile association, said: “We saw a 50 percent growth in membership of new buyers, which means there was a rise in the number of vehicles bought.”