Mumbai: Vehicle sales in January rose sharply due to robust demand, companies data showed on Monday, pointing to a strengthening economy that international carmakers are pushing to access.
Japanese-controlled Maruti Suzuki, South Korea’s Hyundai, General Motors India and the country’s largest vehicle maker Tata Motors all announced strong growth in sales.
Maruti Suzuki said sales rose 33.3% to a record 95,649 vehicles in January, from a year earlier, aided by strong domestic and overseas sales.
“This is the highest-ever number of cars sold in a month,” a spokesman for Maruti Suzuki said, beating a previous record of 87,809 vehicles sold in November 2009.
Its passenger car sales rose 21.2% to 80,952 units.
Maruti sold 14,562 cars overseas, a three-fold jump in demand over last year, a statement to the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) on Monday showed.
Hyundai Motor India announced monthly sales of 52,635 vehicles in January, up 41.6% from a year earlier.
“We expect the momentum to continue with the help of the stimulus packages from the government,” said Arvind Saxena, director with Hyundai Motors India.
Hyundai’s domestic sales rose to a 12-year high of 29,601, data showed.
General Motors India showed record growth, led by its flagship Chevrolet brand, as sales jumped 139% in January, against the same period last year.
GM India said its sales totalled 9,421 vehicles - its highest in a month - against 3,937 last year. The Chevrolet Spark sold 3,477 units and 2,825 units of the Chevrolet Beat, launched recently in India.
Tata Motors said its total sales, including commercial vehicles, jumped 77% to 65,478 vehicles in January, over levels a year earlier.
Tata’s local passenger car sales touched a record 28,547 vehicles. The world’s cheapest car, the Nano, sold 4,001 units in January, the company statement said.
Last week, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in its policy review, kept interest rates flat but drained excess liquidity from the banking system to try to tame inflation without hurting economic recovery.
Analysts predict the central bank will only gradually tighten monetary policy in 2010 especially as growth is expected to be constrained by the planned withdrawal of government fiscal stimulus measures.
“An overall recovery for the economy is aiding this sector,” said Vaishali Jajoo, an auto analyst with local brokerage Angel Broking.
“Benign interest rates are also aiding demand,” she told AFP.
Most analysts forecast automakers to register 12-15% growth in passenger car sales for financial year ending March.
“Growth may slacken a bit in the financial year 2010-11, as excise duties are likely to rise,” said an analyst with a Mumbai-based brokerage, on condition of anonymity.
The government is considering an across-the-board rise in taxes, as it faces pressure to withdraw stimulus packages, media reports have said.
Auto stocks closed up on the BSE, reacting to the data.
Maruti rose 0.65% to Rs1,399.1 while Mahindra and Mahindra advanced 2.7% to Rs1,046.9.
Tata Motors added 3.56% to Rs719.05, prior to the announcement of its sales data.