New Delhi: After growing unexpectedly in April, sales of cars and two-wheelers continued on the same path in May. Most manufacturers reported brisk increases in the number of units sold.
Maruti Suzuki India Ltd, the country’s largest car maker registered the biggest increase among car makers. Sales climbed to 70,785 units, up 10.4% when compared with the same period last year.
Meanwhile, two-wheeler maker Hero Honda Motors Ltd, sold 70,361 more motorcycles and scooters last month than the year before, a growth of 22.5%. Hero Honda’s sales were aided by its dominance in rural markets that make up about 40% of its total sales.
Bright spot: A Maruti Suzuki showroom in New Delhi. The company has seen the biggest increase among car makers with sales climbing up to 70,785 units, up 10.4% as compared with same period last year. Ramesh Pathania / Mint
Maruti’s increase in sales was helped in part by the launch of a new model the Ritz. In the first flush of such launches, companies typically ship several thousand cars of a new model to dealerships across the country.
Exports have also been a bright spot for the company. They nearly doubled to 9,087 units last month. Maruti plans to make India an export base for the A-star, a sporty three-cylinder small car launched last November. This year, the company hopes to export 100,000 cars.
Analysts attribute the growth to better consumer sentiment and easier availability of finance. However, they’re unsure how long companies will be able to sustain this performance. “While we do expect volumes to grow, (doing that on) a high base like this would be tough to sustain,” said Chetan Vohra, an analyst at Brics Securities Ltd. Car sales started slowing last July and fell off a cliff in the last three months of the year with most car makers reporting double digit declines.
Maruti’s rival Hyundai Motor India Ltd, however, saw domestic sales dip 4.1% to 25,503. Exports, from a smaller base, grew 27.8% to 20,125 units allowing the company to post a 8.4% growth when compared with last year. Sales at Honda Siel Cars India Ltd inched up 3.3% to 4,073 cars owing mainly to a big jump in orders for the new version of the City launched last November.
Smaller two-wheeler manufacturers?such?as?Suzuki Motorcycle India Pvt. Ltd and India Yamaha Motor Pvt. Ltd both grew sales, the former by 17% to 12,734 units and the latter by 82% to 16,952 motorcyles.
Tata Motors Ltd, the only commercial vehicle maker to report numbers, said sales of heavy commercial vehicles declined 27% to 8,624 units. The firm, however, sold 10,006 more units of its bread and butter Indica model, a 3% increase from last May.
Shally Seth contributed to this story.