Passenger car sales in India are forecast to grow 3-5 per cent in the ongoing fiscal on expectations of an improvement in overall macro-economic conditions, despite witnessing a fall of 6.69 per cent during 2012-13, industry body SIAM today said.

The Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) also said total sales of all vehicles in the country during 2013-14 will grow by 6-8 per cent with contributions from almost all segments.

“There are concerns and uncertainties for the future, but there is also hope. In recent times, we have seen some positive policy decisions from the government. Macro-economic recovery is also expected,” SIAM President S Sandilya told reporters here.

Besides, he said a slew of new models are also expected that will “excite the market” and models with upgraded features may help the car segment to register better sales in this fiscal.

Changing buying pattern of customers

Pointing out that the buying pattern of customers is changing from small cars to bigger cars and utility vehicles, Sandilya said, “The utility vehicle (UV) sales will continue to increase at a good rate on account of new model launches by many players.”

According to its projections for 2013-14, passenger car segment is pegged to grow by 3-5 per cent, while the UV segment is likely to go up by 11-13 per cent.

“Overall, the passenger vehicle sales is estimated to rise by 5-7 per cent in this financial year,” he added.

In 2012-13, sales of passenger cars fell to 18,95,471 units from 20,31,306 units in the previous fiscal.

SIAM, however, had projected the car sales to grow by 10-12 per cent at the beginning of last fiscal that was later revised downwards thrice during the year. In its last forecast in January this year, car sales growth projection was lowered to just 0-1 per cent for last fiscal, but it was missed.

Factors affecting vehicle sales

Outlining the concerns, Sandilya said the current slow economic growth, general low sentiment of the public, high interest rates and high fuel prices, mainly petrol, can impact sales of vehicles during the current fiscal.

On the overall vehicles sales, he said auto sales of all categories is estimated to rise by 6-8 per cent in 2013-14.

Sandilya mentioned SIAM has forecast the two-wheeler segment to register a growth of 6-8 per cent in 2013-14.

“We are seeing a revival of scooter demand and it is growing with new models being launched. Sales of motorcycles depend a lot on rural sentiments,” he added.

Talking about the commercial vehicle segment, Sandilya said the manufacturers are likely to see an overall growth of 7-9 per cent, primarily led by light commercial vehicles, which is estimated to rise 10-12 per cent in FY’14.

“The concern is medium and heavy commercial vehicles, which is projected to rise 1-3 per cent. The sales are likely to remain sluggish over the next few quarters with probably marginal recovery during the second half,” he added.

Sandilya, however, said the SIAM forecast will be dependent on many factors such as monsoon, government policies, stability of government at the Centre, international crude prices and currency fluctuations.

“The probability of meeting the forecast is 0.7, which is two-thirds,” he added.

(This article was published on April 10, 2013)
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