Car sales up 14.6% in Oct, brakes on bikes

Car sales up 14.6% in Oct, brakes on bikes

New Delhi: Car sales in the country rose 14.6% in October from a year ago, an industry body said on Thursday, encouraged by new launches and festival season offers.

Many employees in the country get their annual bonuses in October, ahead of Diwali which is being celebrated on Friday.

Car makers sold 105,878 units in October, compared with 92,389 in the corresponding period a year ago, the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (Siam) said.

Sales at Maruti Suzuki India Ltd, which has nearly half of the Indian car market, rose 16% to 55,731 units, while No.3 Tata Motors Ltd saw a 10% rise to 14,011 units.

“Passenger vehicles sales continue to remain healthy as new launches and aggressive marketing push continue to attract demand," brokerage Batlivala and Karani said in a note.

But Hyundai Motor India Ltd, a unit of Hyundai Motor Co. and the second largest car maker, saw domestic sales dip to 18,197 from 18,563 a year ago.

“Launch of Hyundai ‘i10’ bodes well for the company and steps up competition for Maruti," Batlivala and Karani said, referring to Hyundai’s new compact car, which competes with Maruti’s top-selling models.

Small cars less than 4m in length enjoy tax breaks, and made up nearly 71% of the 675,499 cars sold between April and October.

Motorcycle sales continued their downtrend, falling 6.7% in October, as discounts failed to attract more buyers who are concerned about five-year high interest rates.

Sales at Hero Honda Motors Ltd rose marginally to 347,216 units from 345,319 a year ago, while No.2 Bajaj Auto Ltd posted an 8% fall to 205,004 units.

Both companies had cut prices on entry-level 100cc bikes to encourage sales during the festival season.

Sales at TVS Motor Co., the country’s third largest motorbike maker, fell 32.6% to 58,594 units.

“TVS has failed to capitalize on the festive demand as its ‘Flame’ will hit the market only after Diwali," Batlivala and Karani said, in reference to TVS’ 125cc bike.

Sales of commercial vehicles—trucks and buses—rose 12% to 43,645 units, on the back of robust industrial output.

Manufacturing activity, which makes about 80% of industrial output in India, in October expanded at its fastest pace in 31 months, the ABN Amro Bank purchasing managers index showed. REUTERS