Car sales down in Feb, but Tatas buck the trend

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Our Bureau

New Delhi, March 15

EXPECTATIONS of an excise duty cut on cars in the Union Budget resulted in a 4.2 per cent drop in passenger car sales during February 2005.

Customers postponed their purchases in the month expecting a reduction in prices following the duty cuts.

Resultantly, sales in February fell to 62,072 units from 64,819 units in the same month last year, data released by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers showed.

According to an analyst, the sales dip was even more pronounced since last year the Union Budget was presented in July, and the pre-Budget dip was not present in February last year.

Out of 11 passenger car manufacturers, nine saw a dip in sales in the last month. The only player to see improved sales was Tata Motors whose sales grew 29.86 per cent to 12,671 units.

Meanwhile, domestic sales of the country's largest car manufacturer Maruti Udyog declined 1.69 per cent in February to 33,505 units, primarily due to 40.53 per cent drop in sales of Maruti 800 at 8,038 units last month. Hyundai Motor India also saw a dip in sales by 17.63 per cent at 9,518 units as against 11,556 units sold during February 2004.

In contrast, the motorcycles segment continued its growth momentum on the back of improved performances by Bajaj Auto and Hero Honda. Motorcycle sales registered 16.89 per cent growth at 4,25,077 units last month as against sales of 3,63,655 units in February 2004.

The scooter/scooterette segment, in which Honda Motorcycles Scooter India, Bajaj Auto and TVS Motor Company account for the bulk of the sales, declined 7.25 per cent in the month at 67,409 units.

Commercial vehicles in February witnessed a 13.87 per cent sales rise at 29,407 units against 25,825 units in February.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated March 16, 2005)
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