India's car, bike sales soar in October
Tuesday, 19 November 2002, 08:00 Hrs
NEW DELHI: Sales of cars and two-wheelers went up sharply in the Indian market in October, as customers demand for automobiles gained momentum in the festive month. Passenger car sales rose 34 percent to 45,317 units in October, up from 33,871 units sold in the same month last year, according to figures released by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) Monday. The growth in car sales for the fifth successive month was triggered by a 56 percent jump in domestic sales of Ford India to 10,053 units. Analysts say the falling interest rates on car loans, introduction of a string of new models and discounts being offered by carmakers to rev up the market also helped boost sale in October. Honda Siel Cars India Ltd., a unit of Japan's Honda Motor Company, boosted its sales by 53.4 percent to 1,135 units, while Maruti Udyog Ltd., India's biggest carmaker, saw a sales growth of 47.4 percent in October to 23,011 units. Industry observers say sales of Maruti, a unit of Japanese carmaker Suzuki Motor, were lifted by a sharp price cut of up to nine percent in July on the Maruti 800, the country's largest selling small car. In the April-October seven-month period, passenger car sales posted a growth of 7.65 percent over the corresponding period last year at 303,784 units, according to the SIAM report. Sales of passenger cars in the domestic market posted a growth of just 0.48 percent in the year ended on March 31, 2003 to 570,473 units as an industrial slowdown and fears of war with Pakistan forced buyers to defer purchases. Two-wheeler sales in the domestic market registered a growth of 17.85 percent to 475,421 units in October, helped by price reductions and lower interest rates on loans, along with rising incomes in rural areas. In the two-wheeler segment, motorcycle sales registered a growth of 28.46 percent to 367,884 units but scooter sales fell 4.30 percent to 79,132 units in the same period, the report said. Sale of motorcycles has been rising steadily in the Indian market over the last couple of years as price-sensitive consumers have shifted focus to fuel-efficient motorcycles from scooters. A whopping 251 percent jump in sales of LML Ltd. to 14,258 units boosted sales of motorcycles in September. Hero Honda Motor, India's largest motorcycles maker, registered a sales growth of 23.45 percent to 162,440 units in the same period. The Indian motorcycle market, the world's largest after China, vaulted 37 percent last year. The SIAM figures showed that sales of commercial vehicles, which include automobiles used for carrying industrial goods and passengers, totalled 16,755 units in October, up from 12,057 in the same month a year earlier.