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After 3-month decline, domestic car sales reverse gear by 1.87% in April

Snapping 3-month declining streak, passenger car sales in India rose 1.87 per cent in April on popular new models like Maruti Baleno and Renault Kwid, although a subdued rural market continued to affect the overall sentiment. According to the data released by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), domestic passenger car sales stood at 1,62,566 units in April as against 1,59,588 units in the same month last year.

"If we talk only about cars then growth during the last month largely came from new launches like Baleno and Kwid," SIAM Director General Vishnu Mathur told reporters here. Rural sales for cars continue to be subdued, he added. "If we see the total passenger vehicle segment, it has grown by over 11 per cent. It is mainly due to the robust growth of utility vehicles like Hyundai Creta, Maruti Vitara Brezza and vehicles like Mahindra's KUV100," Mathur said. The distinction between passenger cars and SUVs is getting more blurred, he added. During last month total passenger vehicle sales rose by 11.04 per cent to 2,42,060 units as against 2,17,989 units in the year ago period. Utility vehicles grew by 42.82 per cent in April. The segment has been growing since October last year, Mathur said.

During April, Maruti Suzuki India's domestic car sales were up 2.72 per cent at 86,481 units, as against 84,188 units in the same month last year. Rival Hyundai Motor India saw a decline of 10.52 per cent at 34,425 units as against 38,474 units in the corresponding month last year. Honda Cars India's sales also declined by 20.12 per cent to 9,499 units as against 11,892 in April last year. Tata Motors' car sales were at 9,106 units in April this year, as compared with 8,925 units in the year-ago month, up 2 per cent. Renault India's car sales zoomed to 9,907 units during the month as against just 259 units last year. Maruti Suzuki India's passenger vehicle sales in April were up 16.22 per cent at 1,17,045 units, while that of rival Hyundai Motor India were up by 9.71 per cent to 42,351 units. 

Homegrown utility vehicles major Mahindra & Mahindra's passenger vehicles sales were up 16.39 per cent at 22,655 units, while Honda Cars India saw a decline of 17 per cent in its passenger vehicles sales during the month at 10,486 units. Tata Motors saw 3.44 per cent increase in sales of passenger vehicles at 12,230 units. Renault India saw a massive 210.57 per cent jump in passenger vehicle sales at 12,426 units. Total two-wheeler sales in April rose 21.23 per cent to 15,60,339 units. 

Motorcycle sales last month jumped 16.24 per cent to 10,24,926 units, from 8,81,743 a year earlier. The motorcycle sales were highest since September 2014, when the segment had grown by 18.65 per cent. 

"The uptick in bike sales during the last month can be mainly attributed to wedding season. We'll have to see if this continues as the rural demand still remain subdued. Though various factors like forecast of a better monsoon has improved the sentiment," Mathur said. Mather added that despite better show during last month, the industry is still far from its peak performance.

"In none of the categories we have reached the peak levels we saw during the 2011-12 period," Mathur noted. In the motorcycle segment, market leader Hero MotoCorp's sales were at 5,17,019 units as against 4,68,699 units in the year-ago month, up 10.3 per cent. Rival Bajaj Auto saw 24.84 per cent increase in its sales at 2,00,433 units as compared with 1,60,554 units in the same month last year. Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India's (HMSI) bike sales were at 1,50,711 units as against 1,31,204 units in the corresponding month last year, up 14.86 per cent.

In the scooter segment, total sales were up 35.85 per cent at 4,68,368 units as against 3,44,752 units in the year ago month. Market leader HMSI posted sales of 2,63,324 units as against 1,97,790 units in the same month last year, a growth of 33.13 per cent.

Hero MotoCorp's scooter sales also jumped by 48.18 per cent to 83,506 units as compared with 56,352 units in April last year. Chennai-based TVS Motor Co saw its scooter sales at 60,455 units as against 47,843 units in the year-ago month, up 26.36 per cent. SIAM said sales of commercial vehicles rose 17.36 per cent to 53,835 units in April. "Heavy commercial vehicle segment is witnessing demand from the replacement segment as well demand for new vehicles due to infrastructure and mining segments gaining steam," Mathur said. Vehicle sales across categories registered an increase of 20.04 per cent to 19,00,879 units from 15,83,582 units in April last year.

"Growth in all segments in April 2016, is a very positive trend for the Indian automotive industry... Hopefully, uncertainty relating to the diesel vehicles will also gets resolved soon. If incentives are offered to replace the old vehicles it will give further boost to the demand," said Abdul Majeed, Partner, Price Waterhouse.

However, he added, if monsoon fails this year and uncertainty relating to diesel vehicles continues, there will be significant challenges in maintaining the overall growth in the automotive sector. 
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