Car sales in August saw encouraging signs of growth returning ahead of the festive season that starts by end-September, even as market leader Maruti Suzuki took a hit on the over a month long (July 18-August 21) factory closure at Manesar.

Maruti’s sales fell 35 per cent to 50,129 units. Apart from Ertiga, sales of all other models fell in the month, with the SX4 sedan posting the sharpest drop of 76 per cent.

Predictably, Dzire sales fell 61 per cent, while Swift sales (along with Estilo, Ritz) were down 62 per cent. The Swift, A-Star, Dzire and SX4 are all made at Manesar and traditionally account for 40 per cent of Maruti’s sales volumes.

Tata Motors posted a 33 per cent growth in August to 22,311 units. This was, helped by an over five-fold increase in Nano sales to 6,507 units. While sales of the Indica range went up, Indigo sales fell in the month.

Aided by the high demand for diesel vehicles, Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) saw a 30 per cent growth to 21,831 in its largely utility vehicle-dominated portfolio. Bookings of the only car in its portfolio, the redesigned Verito, crossed the 2,000 units mark for a month.

Pravin Shah, Chief Executive, Automotive Division, M&M said, “Considering the challenging external environment, we are happy to have achieved a growth of 22 per cent . The overall sentiments for the auto industry are low which could benefit from a relief in interest rates to boost sales. At Mahindra we continue to remain cautious and watchful of the situation”.

Meanwhile, Toyota Kirloskar , which also has a strong diesel car range, saw sales going up 20 per cent in August to 13,995 units. Only Corolla sales fell, while all other models including the Fortuner, Etios and Innova posted gains.

German luxury carmaker, Audi, also saw a 42 per cent growth in August to 726 units, largely aided by the A4 sedan and its new Q3 compact SUV.

PTI adds: Hyundai Motor India Ltd (HMIL) today reported an 8 per cent decline in total sales at 46,886 units in August.

The company had sold 51,012 units in the corresponding month last year, HMIL said in a statement.

In the domestic market, the company recorded sales of 28,257 units compared to 26,677 units in the year-ago period, registering a growth of 5.9 per cent.

Exports declined by 23.4 per cent to 18,629 units during the month under review from 24,335 units in the same period last year, the statement said.

“The overall market demand is suppressed due to the general inflationary trend, high fuel prices and interest rates. Unless any major triggers get activated, market sentiment is not expected to improve very much,” HMIL Vice-President (National Sales) Rakesh Srivastava said.

On the domestic front, despite a sluggish market, sales have grown due to the increased preference for diesel vehicles and niche consumer focused promotions, he added.

The launch of new Elantra also enhanced and strengthened the sales performance in premium segment, Srivastava said.

In the A2 segment (Eon, Santro, i10 and i20), the company sold 40,049 units, in August while sales in the A3 segment (Accent and Verna) stood at 6,145 units.

Sales of A4 segment (Elantra) was at 608 units. The company sold 65 units of the new sports utility vehicle Santa Fe during the month. Sales of luxury sedan Sonata stood at 19 units.

roudra.b@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on September 1, 2012)
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