Excise cuts push sales of top car makers in Feb

Written by fe Bureau | Mumbai | Updated: Mar 2 2014, 06:31am hrs
Maruti Suzuki IndiaLeading car makers Maruti Suzuki India and Hyundai Motor India recovered some ground in February. Reuters
Leading car makers Maruti Suzuki India and Hyundai Motor India recovered some ground in February as buyers made their way to showrooms, encouraged by the recent price cuts following the lowering of excise duty in the interim budget.

While it has only been 10 days since companies began passing on the excise duty cut benefit, car makers claim they have seen a surge in enquiries, the impact of which they hope will reflect in the March numbers.

Maruti Suzukis domestic sales surged 1.8% during the month to 99,758 vehicles as compared with the same period last year. Sales of the companys mini segment cars, including M800, Alto, A-Star and WagonR, slipped 9.6% to 37,342 vehicles during the period under review. In the compact segment comprising Swift, Estilo and Ritz, Maruti sales increased by 19.4% to 28,672 vehicles in February, against 24,021 vehicles in the same month last year.

Hyundai reported flat domestic sales at 34,005 vehicles during the month against 34,002 vehicles in February 2013. Post the reduction in excise duty, enquiry inflow has increased and it is expected that this would lead towards creation of a positive momentum, said Rakesh Srivastava, senior vice-president (sales and marketing), HMIL.

Mahindra & Mahindras domestic sales stood at 39,338 vehicles, a decline of 11% year-on-year. For its passenger vehicles, which include utility vehicles and Verito, the company saw a fall of 18% to 19,308 vehicles on a year-on-year basis.

The auto industry has received a much-needed boost in terms of an excise duty reduction and this has resulted in higher enquiries over the past one week. The recently concluded Auto Expo has also been a success, which will only help in generating demand. At Mahindra we are hopeful that these positive initiatives would be the beginning of a gradual upswing for the auto industry as we move into the next financial year, said Pravin Shah, chief executive, automotive division, Mahindra & Mahindra.

Likewise, Tata Motors reported a 39% drop in total vehicle sales to 35,315 vehicles in February 2014 as compared with the same period last year.

However, the companys passenger vehicle sales surged 6.7% to 11,325 vehicles on a year-on-year basis.

Honda Cars India posted a more than double rise in its domestic sales at 14,543 vehicles in February 2014 against the same period last year. We are happy to see the huge demand for the all-new Honda City, which has gained the leadership position in its segment from the first month itself. The deliveries for the petrol City have begun from February and with both our car manufacturing plants in operation, it will aid in quick delivery of cars and cater to the strong demand from our customers. The excise duty reduction has made all our cars even more attractively priced for our customers, said Jnaneswar Sen, senior vice-president (sales and marketing), Honda Cars India.

Similarly, Ford India also posted a 51% rise in domestic sales at 6,799 vehicles in February 2014 as against the same period the previous year. The recent reduction in excise duty should send out a positive message to customers and encourage them to make the most of the outstanding value being offered on our fuel efficient products, said Vinay Piparsania, executive director of marketing (sales and service).

Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM) reported 20.82% fall in its domestic sales at 10,100 units in February, 2014. The excise duty cut is a welcome step taken by the government to revive sales. However, other factors like high interest rates, falling value of rupee and unstable fuel pricing still loom large on the market, TKM senior vice-president (sales and marketing) N Raja said.

Two-wheeler maker TVS Motor Companys domestic two-wheeler sales rose 3.4% to 1,47,580 vehicles in February compared with the same month last year.