New Delhi: Car and two-wheeler makers reported robust sales in June even as concerns over a continuing lack of financing prompted manufacturers to say that testing times for the industry are likely to continue.
The country’s largest car and bike companies posted the heftiest increases in sales. Powered mainly by a huge jump in exports of its A-Star model, sales at MarutiSuzuki India Ltd rose 22.5% to 75,109 units in June from a year ago. Maruti plans to export 100,000 A-Star cars by the end of this fiscal. Domestic sales were up 9.5% to 61,773 units.
June sales at Hero Honda Motors Ltd jumped 23.7% to 365,734 units. Hero Honda was also the only auto maker not to post a fall in sales during the slowdown that began last June.
Other two-wheeler makers also saw increased sales. Yamaha Motor Co.’s India subsidiary sold 8,179 more bikes than the same month last year, a jump of 84%. Sales at Suzuki Motorcycle India Pvt. Ltd were up 33% to 12,335 units while TVS Motor Co. Ltd’s sales were up a marginal 6% to 115,448 units. Companies report only shipments to dealers and not retail sales.
An industry expert said the June sales were not an indication of firm growth. V.G. Ramakrishnan, director of the automotive and transportation practice for South Asia and Middle East at consultancy Frost and Sullivan, said, “Sales will continue to be wavy in the next two-three months.” A clear picture, he predicted, would emerge after the budget and related policy announcements are implemented.
Still, the months ahead could see a base effect, when a particular year’s numbers look good due to lower figures in the year earlier, kick in. Car sales, which grew at an anaemic 0.13% last fiscal, started shrinking after June 2008 and will, therefore, show better growth number from July.
June was also a month when car maker Hyundai Motor India Ltd bucked its trend of declining domestic sales. They rose 5.2% to 23,016 units. Hyundai, which uses India as an export base for its small cars, shipped 24,251 units to Europe, a jump of 32.5%.
Tata Motors Ltd, which also retails cars for Fiat India Pvt. Ltd, said sales rose 11% to 19,513 units. A break-up of Tata-made and Fiat cars was not disclosed.
Commercial vehicle sales numbers reported by the company presented a mixed bag. While light vehicles were up 17% to 16,256 units, medium and heavy vehicles continued to post a decline. Sales were down 23% to 9,949 units.
At Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd, domestic sales of utility vehicles such as the Scorpio and Xylo models were up 56% to 17,653 units.
Honda Siel Cars India Ltd, which launched the Jazz, a premium hatchback, last month saw sales rise 6.5% to 5,039 units. It has received 2,032 orders for the car, the company said in a statement.
General Motors India Ltd, whose US parent filed for bankruptcy protection in the US last month, saw sales dip by 4% to 4,495 units. It was the only car company to post a decline in sales.
Shally Seth contributed to this story.