New Delhi: The Indian auto industry, which was heading towards negative growth territory, managed to stay in the positive zone in the fiscal ended 31 March, thanks to the government’s stimulus packages, recording a 0.71% increase in total vehicle sales.
With a late surge in the last quarter of the fiscal, total vehicle sales in the country stood at 97,23,391 units compared with 96,54,435 units in the last financial year, according to the figures released by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) on Wednesday.
“Had it not been for the stimulus packages, passenger vehicle sales would have been down 3% or no growth, while commercial vehicles would have had a decline of 30-40%,” SIAM director general Dilip Chenoy said.
The two-wheeler segment would also have registered a decline of 3% or zero growth, he said, while forecasting a single digit growth for the three major segments in the ongoing fiscal.
In the financial year 2008-09, the domestic passenger car sales rose by 1.31% to 12,19,473 units from 12,03,733 units in the April-March period of the earlier fiscal.
Motorcycle sales in the country during the year was up by 1.16% at 58,35,145 units against 57,68,342 units in 2007-08, while total two-wheeler sales in FY’09 also increased by 2.60% at 74,37,670 units compared to 72,49,278 units in FY’08.
The sale of commercial vehicle in 2008-09, however, decreased by 21.69% to 3,84,122 units from 4,90,494 units for the previous fiscal, SIAM said.
In December 2008 and January this year, the government had cut CENVAT by 4% and lowered excise duty to 8% from 10%, while encouraging states to buy modern buses under the JNNURM scheme, that boosted the auto sector.
In March, total passenger car sales in the domestic market increased marginally to 1,29,358 from 1,28,098 units in the same month last year. While, motorcycle sales during the month was up by 2.98% at 5,22,000 units against 5,06,884 units in the corresponding period a year ago.
Total two-wheeler sales in March also jumped by 3.65% at 6,54,017 units compared to 6,30,976 units in the same month last year.
Commercial vehicle sales during the month, however, dipped by 26.22% to 41,881 units from 56,768 units for the year-ago period, SIAM said.
The total sales of all vehicles in March rose by 1.09% at 8,93,934 units against 8,84,313 units in the same month last year.
Stating that financing issues such as liquidity, loan recovery and vehicle repossession and the uncertainty of the economic environment remained major challenges, Chenoy said various segments of the auto industry were expected to witness single digit growths at best.
As per SIAM estimates, passenger vehicles are expected to record a sales growth of 3-5% in FY09-10, commercial vehicles at 7-10% (over a low base of the previous fiscal), two-wheelers at 0-5% and three-wheelers at 5-8%.
According to SIAM in the fiscal 2009-10, passenger vehicles are expected to have a sales of 18.9 lakh to 19.2 lakh units.
Commercial vehicles have been forecast to clock a sales of 5.2-5.4 lakh units, while two-wheelers sales have been pegged at 83.4-87.6 lakh units.
“These are all subject to the continuation of the current economic environment. If there is any adverse change, for instance in interest rates, after the new government, the numbers can change,” Chenoy said.