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Car makers post healthy March sales

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, Apr 3: Spurred by increased demand due to excise duty cut for small cars, country's two biggest car makers - Maruti and Hyundai - today reported double digit growth in March sales.

India's top most car manufacturer Maruti Udyog Ltd (MUL) said sales surged by 15.7 per cent at 63,196 units in March from 54,613 units last year, Maruti, the biggest beneficiary of the excise duty cut, has 90 per cent of its total car sales made up of the 800, the Alto, the Zen and the Wagon R that fall into the Finance Minister's small car definition.

The company, with a 51 per cent market share, sold a total of 61,141 vehicles in the domestic market in March with its best-selling model Alto clocking 17,908 units, WagonR 10,843 units and Swift 6,651 units.

March also saw the revival of demand for the popular M800 model with the company selling 10,937 units against 10,252.

Exports during March, however, continued to slide as they fell 47 per cent at 2,055 units against 3,920 units in the corresponding year.

In fact the company's exports have been in the negative for a long time and have dipped 28.9 per cent for the year ended March 31, at 34,784 units against 48,899 units.

For the year ended March 31, 2006, the company registered total sales of 5,61,822 units (including exports) as against 5,36,301 units in the previous fiscal - a growth of 4.8 per cent.

After three years of accelerated growth, four-wheeler sales hit a speed-breaker in 2005, as all the segments saw growth dip to a single digit. However, the excise duty cut has given the necessary impetus to the fledgling car sales.

India's No 2 car manufacturer Hyundai Motors India Ltd (HMIL) posted a 26.5 per cent growth in March sales at 30,038 units against last year.

Hyundai has also benefited significantly from the cut as every four out of five cars sold by the company are Santro.

The sales in the domestic market clocked 22,524 units with a growth of 37.5 per cent over the same period in year 2005. The company's exports for the month stood at 7,514 units, growing by 2.1 per cent over the corresponding month in '05.

During the first quarter ended March 31, 2006, HMIL registered a growth of 13.6 per cent with a total sale of 68,653 units as compared to 60,428 units over the same period in 05'.

Premium car maker Honda Siel Cars India (HSCI) reported a robust growth of 19 per cent in March. The company sold 6,120 cars against 5,142 units during the same month last year.

HSCI closed the 2005-06 financial year with a double digit growth of 14 per cent. It sold 42,727 cars in the domestic market compared to 37,480 in the previous year.

The company's flagship model, the Honda City, accounted for 37,545 units in the year.

The day also saw Ford India report an impressive 83 per cent rise during March over last year. Ford sold 5,929 units during the month.

The company also said its first quarter sales were up 86 per cent at 14,125 units compared to 7,607 units. Ford attributes the surge in sales to the rising popularity of the 'Fiesta'.

General Motors India (GMI) recorded a 16 per cent growth in March sales at 4,070 cars against 3,516 units. Eicher Motors also reported a 47 per cent jump in sales of commercial vehicle during March as compared to the same month a year ago. For the year ended March 2006, sales went up by 3 per cent over the previous year. The commercial vehicle sales stood at 3,102 units, including exports of 326 unirts, up 47 per cent.

Total sales for the year ended March 31, 2006 stood at 23,603 units, up 3 per cent over last year.

Czech car company SkodaAuto India saw sales rise 46 per cent to 1,467 units against 1,008 units last year.


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