Honda Siel Cars India continues to take a hit with sales of its City facing stiff competition from Maruti’s SX4.

Our Bureau

New Delhi, Sep.1 Maruti Udyog Ltd’s passenger car sales seem to have set the tone for the coming festive season.

The country’s largest car maker clocked domestic sales at 60, 229 vehicles in August 2007 compared with 48,259 vehicles the same month previous year – a growth of 24.80 per cent.

Like Maruti, General Motors too rode on its newly launched vehicles while Honda and Skoda saw sluggish sales in the absence of any new offerings.

With buoyant sales driven mainly by its newly launched SX4, MUL registered a 70.6 per cent growth in the A3 segment that also includes models such as Esteem and Baleno, with sales at 4,839 units against 2,837 units same period last year.

The A2 segment, which includes Alto, Wagon-R, Zen and Swift, saw a 28.6 per cent growth at 41,736 units from 32,466 units in the same period previous fiscal.

While sales of the C category that has models such as Omni, Versa also showed a 24.5 per cent growth, sales of its flagship model Maruti 800 fell by 14.7 per cent.

“Higher discounts were offered on some models like Estilo, as much as Rs 3,000 more compared with the previous month, whereas, discounts were lowered on Wagon R and Esteem,” said a dealer, adding that with the next fifteen days being inauspicious as per the Hindu calendar year, in certain cases, customers also deferred their purchases.

General Motors’ Chevrolet Spark, U-VA, Optra also witnessed a growth over 100 per cent with sales at 5,817 units in August, against 2,720 units in the same month last year.

Apart from new launches, industry watchers also feel the festival of Onam led to strong sales in the southern region, though sales in the West and the North remained normal.

However, premium car maker Honda Siel Cars India continues to take a hit with sales of its City facing stiff competition from Maruti’s SX4. The company saw a 6.42 per cent drop across all its models with its sales lower at 4,879 units against 5,247 units in August 2006.

However, its City sales looked up a wee bit at 3,095 units compared with 3,039 units in August 2006. In percentage terms, this increase worked out to a marginal 2 per cent.

“New models always create excitement in the market. But after the initial buzz around SX4 cools down, based on the strong product and brand value that Honda commands, sales should become normal,” said a Honda dealer. Czech car manufacturer Skoda’s sales fell by 16.66 per cent to 900 units against 1,080 units sold last year.

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Maruti December sales rise 23.7 pc

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated September 2, 2007)
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