Mahindra expects sales to look up in March

Mahindra expects sales to look up in March

Mumbai: Utility vehicle maker Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd expects an improvement in sales last month to carry over into March, a senior official said on Friday.

In February, Mahindra, which is also India’s top tractor maker, said total sales rose 1% from year earlier and about 13% from January.

Car sales in India have fallen in annual terms in six of the seven months to January, but some firms saw a rise in sales in February as government stimulus measures, including a lowering of duties, and central bank rate cuts started to have an impact.

“As you saw, February was much better for us in terms of sales. We see no reason why the momentum should not continue," Pawan Goenka, Mahindra’s president of its automotive sector, told reporters, although he said the situation kept changing. “So what I can say is, as of today, March is looking good," he said at the launch of a new version of the company’s flagship utility vehicle, the Scorpio.

The new version will sell for between Rs34,000 to Rs70,000 less than existing Scorpio models, with the base model starting at Rs720,000, Goenka said. The new Scorpio would be modified and sold in the US from early next year, Goenka said.

Mahindra launched its Xylo utility vehicle earlier this year and plans to launch a goods carrier in the fourth quarter of calendar 2009.

The company’s share price rose 1.78% to Rs316.90 at the Bombay Stock Exchange on a day when its benchmark Sensex index gained 1.56% to 8,325.82 points.

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