Tata Motors and M&M both reported record car sales in March.

A hike in excise duties announced in March drove car sales up as people rushed to showrooms looking to grab deals based on stocked up inventory that would not attract new levies.

Tata Motors and Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) both reported record car sales for the month. Market leader Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai also expected to follow suit as they announce their respective sales numbers on Monday.

Improved sentiment

“Markets sentiments have improved since January with the pause in key policy rate hikes by the Central Bank. Moreover, sales of diesel cars also saw increased traction in the first half of the month on fears of an additional tax on such vehicles in the mid-March Budget announcement,” an industry executive said.

Tata Motors' monthly sales crossed 1 lakh for the first time, with passenger vehicle sales up 34 per cent to 36,984 units. Sales of the Nano compact touched a new high of 10,475 units, on a 20 per cent growth – the previous peak was 10,012 units in April last year. Tata's commercial vehicle sales were up 17 per cent at 58,063 units.

The other utility vehicle major, M&M, sold 25 per cent more vehicles in March at 47,001 units (with exports). Passenger vehicles sales were up 33 per cent to 23,020 units.

Mr Pravin Shah, Chief Executive, Automotive Division, M&M said, “We are happy to have achieved a growth of 28 per cent in 2011-12 given the pressures the auto industry is facing.”

Meanwhile, Toyota Kirloskar's sales rose 87 per cent to 18,220 units led by the Etios range. Luxury carmaker Audi sold 1,002 cars in March 2012 – a growth of 47 per cent; which nearly equals its annual sales figure of 2008 (1,050 cars).

India's third largest domestic commercial vehicles manufacturer , Eicher recorded its highest-ever monthly sales of 6,051 units of trucks and buses – a 19.5 per cent growth.

roudra.b@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on April 1, 2012)
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