According to figures released by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (Siam), car sales started the New Year with a band, with total sales touching 184,332 units (up 26%) in January, the highest-ever number for a single month. This heats the previous all time high sales of 182,992 cars last October.
Highest sales by companies like Maruti, Ford, Tata Motors and Toyota led the numbers. The rise in demand has been fueled in rising incomes and economic activity that gelled well with new model launches and comfortable interest rates.
Also, the hike of petrol prices and commodity costs has affected the affordability of vehicles, at a time of high inflation, which will also meet demand. Alarmingly, a major negative blow could come in the Budget if the government hikes excise duty by 2% to bring it back to the pre-slowdown level, something companies say will immediately result in a similar hike in vehicle prices.
While car sales were the highest in January, two-wheeler sales also remained healthy, going up by 17.5%. Motorcycle numbers were up by 15% at 7.47 lakh units against 6.5 lakh units in January last year. Sales of scooters were up 29.5% at 1.8 lakh units.
Overall auto sales in the domestic market, including cars, two-wheelers, three wheelers and commercial vehicles, remained healthy at 13.2 lakh units, a growth of 19% over 11.1 lakh units in January last year.
Source: Times of India (Daily Indian Newspaper)