Car sales rose 18.14% in April, the fastest in 30 months, on the back of new models and favourable fuel prices.
According to data released by Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (Siam), domestic passenger car sales in April stood at 1,59,548 units compared with 1,35,054 in the same month of 2014. However, unseasonal rains, which have impacted rural demand, resulted in a decline in motorcycle sales. Another area of concern is the declining sales of light commercial vehicles.
“We have started the new fiscal with growth in all the segments, except in three categories. For the passenger car segment, this is the seventh straight month of growth," Siam director-general Vishnu Mathur said.
"This is the fastest growth rate we have witnessed in 30 months," he added. Mathur, however, cautioned that the industry is yet to make a full turnaround after the slump of the last few fiscals.
The growth in passenger vehicle sales was driven by the stellar performance by market leader Marui Suzuki, whose domestic vehicle sales grew 27.30% to 100,709 units.
“Though weak rural demand continues to be a concern, the improving micro and macro economic sentiment helped the automobile manufacturers register some growth in April,” said Amit Kaushik, principal analyst, IHS automotive.
Motorcycle sales continue to suffer with the rural economy showing no signs of recovery. As a result, sales fell 2.77%.
The slowdown in rural economy had a negative impact on Hero MotoCorp — around 50% of its sales come from the rural market. It saw a 7% decline in sales,with demand for entry-level motorcycles muted. Scooters, however, continued to grow 5.38% as a significant part of the two-wheeler market has moved to scooters.