Car and two-wheeler sales growth in March, 2011 have maintained their upward trajectory, continuing the strong numbers posted in February. Sales have been boosted by an increased spate of new launches, increased financing options and the rising purchasing power of customers.
While market leaders Maruti Suzuki and Hero Honda both broke records, other industry majors Hyundai and Tata Motors, however, saw flat sales in the month.
Maruti Suzuki sold 1.21 lakh units, its highest ever in a month. Sales were led by the A2 segment models like Alto, Wagon-R, Zen, Swift, A-Star, Ritz, where volumes rose 43 per cent. The newly launched range topper Kizashi sedan also sold 103 units in the month. Rival Hyundai saw sales growth of one per cent, across both domestic and export markets.
“With rising interest rates and increasing prices due to higher input costs the market is less buoyant than what it was last year. In the second half of the year, we expect our sales to grow at a faster pace,” said Mr Arvind Saxena, Director - Marketing and Sales, Hyundai Motor India.
Tata Motors' car sales marginally declined, though on an overall basis (including commercial vehicles and exports) sales rose 11 per cent to 83,363 units. Sales of the Nano touched 8,707 units, higher by 85 per cent over March last year.
Meanwhile, sales of the Fiat brand, which is distributed thorough Tata Motors, fell 11 per cent to 1,865 units.
Mahindra's sales, inclusive of light commercial vehicles and exports, rose 18 per cent to 37,522 units.
“The increased sales have been because of the various new models launched in the year and the high demand which has led to waiting period for many models. I expect the growth story to continue into the next fiscal as well. Last month, the sales were high due to the advance buying by customers in anticipation of higher prices post Budget. March usually sees a drop in such cases, which has affected some players,” said Mr Abdul Majeed, automotive practice leader at PwC.
German carmaker Volkswagen (VW) sold 8,095 units in March, while Honda Siel's sales dropped 4 per cent in the April, 2010 to March, 2011 period to 59,463 units. Another VW group company Skoda saw sales jump 65 per cent to 3,009 units, while premium carmaker Mercedes-Benz announced its best ever January to March sales performance of 2,135 units on a growth of 67 per cent.
Among two-wheelers, Hero Honda posted the best-ever sales in a fiscal (2010-11) at 5.4 million units and the highest-ever sales of 5.15 lakh units in March, 2011. HMSI also said that its sales have grown 30 per cent and surpassed its own target of 16.5 lakh units in the fiscal. TVS Motor saw a 28 per cent growth in March, 2011 and a 33 per cent sales rise across 2010-11 at over two million units.
Mr Majeed added that the current fiscal poses several challenges due to the global uncertainties following the Japan crisis, rising prices of commodities like steel and oil, rising inflation and interest rates.