Passenger vehicles sales in India jumped 21.46% to 268,629 units in October, reflecting higher demand in the festive season and new model launches.

It’s the 12th straight monthly increase in vehicle sales, including cars, utility vehicles and vans.

Car sales rose 22% to 194,158 units in October, compared with 159,408 units in the year-ago month, lobby group Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (Siam) said on Tuesday.

Sales of medium and heavy-duty trucks rose by a robust 24% to 22,181 units. Sales of commercial vehicles were up 12.7% to 58,596 units. Motorcycles sales, which have been a drag on the two-wheeler segment, rose 5%, bumping segment sales up by 13.31% to 1.65 million units.

It’s the first time in several months that sales have grown uniformly across categories, including motorcycles and three-wheelers, sales of which had been slowing for more than a year.

Vehicle sales across categories rose 13.9% to 2.03 million units.

“The ongoing festive season had a positive impact on the passenger vehicle sales," said Vishnu Mathur, director general of Siam. “Passenger vehicles will not go back to the negative marks and will continue to improve, like heavy commercial vehicles. Light motor vehicles are also expected to be in positive territory soon."

Hopes of faster economic growth, lower borrowing costs and the recent launch of new models by auto makers fed the demand.

“Heavy and medium commercial vehicles sales are rising due to replacement demand as well as on hope of a revival in the overall economy," said Abdul Majeed, a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers India.

“Even freight demand is reflecting an upward trend, while LCV (light commercial vehicle) sales will also gradually pick up in the next few quarters. There are many favourable indicators to propel growth in the automotive sector such as low interest rates, pent-up demand across the segment and low fuel prices." said Majeed.

Sales at Maruti Suzuki India Ltd, India’s No.1 car maker, rose 21.54% to 97,951 units in October.

Rival Hyundai Motor India Ltd’s car sales jumped 4.78% to 39,709 units from 37,894 units in the year-ago month. Its passenger vehicle sales, however, rose 23.69% to 47,015 units, driven by its newly-launched sport utility vehicle, or SUV, Creta.

Honda Cars India Ltd’s sales rose 89.57% to 19,310 units. Tata Motors Ltd’s domestic car sales rose 15.16% to 11,049 units.

Passenger vehicles exports in October rose 22% to 59,255 units.

In addition, Dhanteras, the first day of the five-day Diwali festival period celebrated on 9 November, brought cheer to auto makers. Maruti Suzuki, Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd (M&M) and Hyundai Motor said retail sales on Dhanteras rose sharply from the day last year. For M&M, market leader in utility vehicles, it has been the best Diwali in three years. Pravin N. Shah, president and chief executive, automotive, at the firm, said the company despatched a total of 11,500 units on 9 November. This, he added, is 70% more than what the company despatched last year. Most of the volumes came from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh, and was led by TUV300, the new model it launched on 11 September.

Led by the newly-launched Baleno, among other models, Maruti Suzuki, too, saw its retail sales rise 25% to around 14,000-15,000 units in a single day, as compared with last year, said a company spokesperson.

Hyundai, the second largest in the pecking order, saw its deliveries increase 25% to 12,000 units, as compared with last year, mainly on the robust demand for the newly-launched Creta and i20 range.

“After a long time, we are seeing a resurgence in demand for compact car models," said Rakesh Shrivastava, senior vice-president, sales and marketing at Hyundai Motor.

PTI contributed to this story.

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