Feb car sales rise to 94,756 units, bikes continue to skid

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New Delhi, Mar 10 (UNI) Car sales for the month of February 2008 increased 2.3 per cent to 94,756 units from 92,618 units in the corresponding month last year, while motorcycle sales continued to decline by 17.68 per cent, clocking 425,089 units as compared to 516,410 units in the same month previous year.

It was expected to be a difficult month for automakers as consumers postponed buying a set of wheels on the backdrop of getting some incentives in the Union Budget 2008-09.

Major car makers like Tata Motors, Hyundai, Ford, Honda Siel all saw declines in sales, said the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (Siam) report on automobile sales today.

Country's leading car maker Maruti Suzuki managed a 2.1 per cent growth with sales of 51,762 units in February, compared to 50,666 units in the same month last year.

The increase in sales of passenger cars can largely be attributed to the sales of General Motors with sales of 3,691 units in February, compared to 1,286 units last year.

Also Mahindra Renault with sales of 2,751 units last month contributed significantly to the total sales figure as in the corresponding month last year it did not figure in the Siam report.

Two-wheeler manufacturers continued to face tough times due to tighter vehicle financing norms as total sales continued to slip by 14.2 per cent with 542,578 units being sold in February as compared to 632,712 units in the corresponding month last year.

So far, excise rate cuts in the Union Budget announced on the last day of February have not played a part in offsetting the drumbeat of bad sales figures.

Many are now awaiting sales figure for March to get a semblance of how effective the excise rate cut on two-wheelers from 16 per cent to 12 per cent will be.

However, the sales of Scooter/Scooterettee continued its healthy run with sales of 83,256 units in February, compared to 82,944 in the same month last year.

Total three-wheeler sales for the month of February 2008 slipped 15.72 per cent, clocking 28,547 units in sales as compared to 33,875 units in the corresponding month last year.

Sales of Commercial vehicles bucked the trend in February, reporting a 1.69 per cent sales increase to 45,059 units, thanks to strong sales in the Medium and Heavy Commercial Vehicle segment.

Medium and Heavy Commercial vehicles saw sales 26,299 units in February 2008 as compared to 25,920 units in the same month last year.

Light Commercial Vehicles also saw marginal increase in sales to 18,760 units in February, compared to 18,388 units last year.

For the April-February 2008 period, domestic sales of automobiles further decelerated by 5.31 per cent to 8,764,579 units compared to 9,256,223 units in the same period last year.

The cumulative growth of the Passenger Vehicles in the segment during April-February was 12.32 per cent with passenger cars growing by 11.74 per cent to 1,075,457 units compared to 962,437 units last year.

For April-February period Commercial Vehicles grew by 2.88 per cent to 430,555 units compared to 418, 484 units.

Three Wheeler sales continue to be under pressure with 11 months sales declining by 9.20 per cent to 335,049 units compared to 369,009 units last year.

Automobile exports saw a growth rate of 21.03 per cent during April-February 2008 to 1,120,103 units compared to 925,464 units last year.

Passenger Vehicles exports rose 7.22 per cent to 186,705 units, two wheelers increased by 31.16 per cent 744,595 units, while sales for three wheelers declined by 2.51 per cent to 130,666 units during the April-February 2008 period.

For many the question heading into March is not whether sales will continue to fall. For analyst it is whether the various sales forecasts are pessimistic enough.

However, around this time last year automobile sales started slipping. So going into March the base for comparison will be low which would mean there can be an increase in percentage terms but sales in volumes can be low.


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