New Delhi: In another sign that the worst may be over for the Indian economy, sales of large trucks rose in August compared with a year ago. Makers of car and two-wheelers continued to post hefty increases in sales.
Termed medium and heavy commercial vehicles, sales of these trucks are a key indicator of economic activity.
Truck makers sold 17,345 units in August, up 4% from a year ago, according to data from the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers, or Siam. Light commercial vehicle sales increased 9.1% to 20,534 units.
To be sure, truck sales are still below the highs seen in 2007 and the increase in numbers is partly due to the base effect when growth in a given year looks high due to muted growth the year earlier.
Ahmed Raza Khan / Mint.
An average of about 23,000 trucks were sold every month in fiscal 2007.
“We expect commercial vehicle sales to recover completely in the next two to three years but the recovery will be slow and steady,” said Deepesh Rathore, lead analyst, automotive forecasting at IHS Global Insight. He pointed to infrastructure investments driving growth in the next few months.
“A lot of road tenders are being opened”, resulting in operators expanding their fleets, according to Rathore. Easier availability of loans also contributed to the increase in sales, as did the festive season which starts later this month. Companies usually increase despatches before the festive season in anticipation of sales.
Siam reports despatches to dealers and not retail sales.
Passenger car sales, which have risen sharply in the last few months, rose by a quarter to 120,669 units. Car sales began falling in July 2008 and continued to fall till December, September being the only exception on account of despatches for the festive season.
In addition to the festive season, new model launches have been the key to rising sales in this segment. In the last few months, car makers have rushed to launch new models as well as facelifts of old ones. On Tuesday,Honda Siel Cars India Ltd launched a new version of the Civic.
Boosted by demand for the Xylo, Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd reported the heftiest increase in domestic sales among car makers. Its sales were up 48% to 11,443 units.
Maruti Suzuki India Ltd, the country’s largest car maker, posted a 30% increase in cars sold, to 69,961 units.
Meanwhile, two-wheeler sales rose by 25.1% to 776,777 units. Hero Honda Motors Ltd reported its highest ever monthly despatch level. It shipped 408,325 units to dealers last month, up 37% from the year earlier. The country’s second largest bike company also returned to the growth path with 137,908 units sold.