India’s auto sales growth may not move into the negative zone this fiscal as feared earlier because of good pickup in demand during February and the first half of March, industry body SIAM said on Monday.
It had earlier expressed concerns about the possibility of car sales declining in 2011-12 for the first time in nine years.
“As of February, car sales growth in the domestic market for the fiscal is at 0.31 per cent. It is likely that we may end the year between 0-1 per cent growth,” Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) Director General Vishnu Mathur said.
As per SIAM’s latest data, during the April-February period, car sales in India stood at 17,86,249 units as against 17,80,740 units in the year-ago period.
Mathur said while car sales in first half of March were good as customers advanced purchases ahead of the Budget fearing price increase, the second half may not be as good as prices have gone up due to excise duty hikes.
“So in March, the first half and the second half may cancel out each other with a net flat sales growth,” he added.
In February, SIAM had said that the Indian passenger car sales may miss the target of 0-2 per cent growth, after revising it three times for 2011-12 thus hinting at the possibility of a decline for the first time in nine years.
In the April-January period this fiscal, domestic passenger cars sales fell by 1.19 per cent to 15,74,847 units from 15,93,850 units in the year-ago period.
However, sales had picked up in February posting 13.11 per cent growth to 2,11,402 units as customers rushed to buy vehicles fearing rise in prices post the Union Budget.
The last time domestic car sales witnessed a decline was in 2002-03 when it fell by 2.09 per cent to 5,53,022 units from the previous fiscal.