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Auto sector posts record sales in February

Sandeep Joshi

Maruti-Suzuki achieves the highest-ever domestic sales

NEW DELHI: With all leading car manufacturers clocking good sales in February, the auto sector seems to be on the revival path. Almost all leading car manufacturers, including Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai Motor, Tata Motors and premium car-maker Honda, have reported impressive sales in February.

Maruti Suzuki India has achieved its highest-ever domestic and total sales in February, besides registering the highest-ever export sales. The company sold 70,625 units in the domestic market (up 19.1 per cent) in February. The previous highest monthly domestic sales were 67,005 units recorded in January. Led by A-star, Maruti Suzuki exported 8,565 units last month, surpassing its previous highest export sales of 8,282 units recorded in March 2004.

In all, the company sold 79,190 vehicles in February, up 24.1 per cent over the corresponding month last fiscal. The previous highest total sales were registered in January 2009 at 71,779 units.

HMIL’s good show

Similarly, Hyundai Motor India registered an impressive 45.3 per cent growth in the domestic market, while its cumulative sales increased by 31.9 per cent over February 2008 and exports increased by 18.3 per cent. Its total sales for February stood at 38,254 units.

The domestic market accounted for 21,215 units, while the export market totalled 17,039 units.

“While January 2009 sales growth for both the industry as well as HMIL had been negative, February sales saw a slight upturn with double digit growth for the industry but the overall market situation continues to be challenging,” said HMIL Senior Vice-President (Marketing and Sales) Arvind Saxena.

Tata Motors’ feat

Tata Motors also saw its sales going up in several months. Its domestic sales for February were 42,493 units (highest in the last four months), including domestic commercial vehicle sales at 23,454 units (highest since September 2008) and domestic passenger vehicle sales at 19,039 units (highest since May 2008). Its total sales (including exports) were 43,807 vehicles, also highest in the last four months.

Honda Siel Cars India (HSCI) also registered an impressive 47.83 per cent growth in February as its sales went up to 5,579 units from 3,774 units in February 2008, making it the highest-ever for the month. For Honda, the remarkable growth in sales was fuelled by the success of its new Honda City.

Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) saw its sales for February grow by 21.6 per cent, mainly due to the launch of new multi-utility vehicle Xylo, which was launched in January. Its automotive sector’s total volumes (including joint ventures) for February stood at 19,594 units as against 18,379 units in February 2008.

However, the U.S.-based auto manufacturer, GM, despite the launch of a new version of its compact car Chevrolet Spark, saw its sales declining to 4,921 units in February compared to 5563 units sold in the corresponding period last year.

“The overall sales decline is triggered by the sluggish market conditions combined with tighter lending norms of banks and finance companies. We expect the sales to go up with the liquidity position improving and interest rates marginally coming down in the coming months,” said General Motor India Vice-President P. Balendran.

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