Indian automobile manufacturers continued to drive a robust growth track in February as customers advanced purchases fearing the Union Budget might hike excise duty on cars.
The Budget for 2011-12 unveiled on Monday, however, left excise duty unchanged at 10-22 per cent (contrary to an expectation of a 2 per cent hike) and has been hailed as positive for the sector by experts and analysts, boosting auto shares and lifting the benchmark share index Sensex.
The country’s top carmakers Maruti Suzuki, Tata Motors, and Mahindra and Mahindra saw yet another month of double-digit sales numbers despite rising interest rates and looming fears of increase in fuel prices amid surging global crude oil.
Growth in the auto segment also continues to be driven by rising disposable income with the middle-class and a pick up in new product launches by some manufacturers.
Maruti Suzuki, the country’s largest car maker, reported 20 per cent year-on-year growth in sales during the month to 101,543 units. Tata Motors saw sales grow 15 per cent to 33,751 vehicles. The company sold 8,262 units of small car Nano, up 101 per cent year-on-year. Top utility vehicle maker Mahindra and Mahindra saw sales rise by 20 per cent to 31,967 units.
Hyundai Motors, the country’s second largest car manufacturer, saw sales rise by 5 per cent on the back of steady sales of its compact cars. “We expect the average industry growth rate to stabilise in future months,” said Arvind Saxena, director, marketing and sales, Hyundai Motor.
Toyota and Ford saw sales led largely by new model launches. “Sales growth was largely driven by sale of Etios at 2,786 units,” said Sandeep Singh, deputy managing director, marketing, Toyota Kirloskar Motors. Ford India President and Managing Director Michael Boneham said, “Figo has taken Ford to a new level in India. Building on Figo’s success, the US auto major will be offering the Fiesta, a premium sedan as part of its ever-growing product portfolio.”