Two-wheelers overtake cars in October

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Summary* Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai record flat growth; Honda & Ford in top gear on back of new launches

Two-wheelers have clearly stolen the show this festival season, with market leader Hero MotoCorp selling 18% more bikes and scooters at a record 6.25 lakh units in October on the back of strong rural demand after a good monsoon.

FE was the first to report on October 17 that the company will report a record high sales during the month.

While rival Bajaj is yet to report its sales data, Hero’s erstwhile partner Honda also saw volumes jump 50% at 3.75 lakh units, while TVS Motor reported a 2% rise at 1.73 lakh units.

HeroMotoCorp senior VP (marketing & sales) Anil Dua said, “While we exceeded our best-ever despatch sales for any month by a huge margin, at the same time, our retail sales — which is a real barometer of customer response — has also set a new record. We have retailed over 6.5 lakh two-wheelers in the domestic market in October. Our factories have been working to capacity to meet the added demand in this festival season. With Dhanteras and Diwali here, we are prepared to maintain this retail momentum going forward”.

Meanwhile, carmakers in October had far less to cheer about as urban demand remained sluggish on the back of slowing economic growth, high inflation and rising fuel prices. Maruti Suzuki, which accounts for 40% of the passenger vehicle market, and rival Hyundai both recorded flat growth in the month at 96,062 units and 36,002 units, respectively.

Maruti Suzuki’s sales in the mini-car segment declined by 6.8% to 39,379 units last month and compact segment declined by 1.2% to 22,188 units in October.

Tata Motors and Mahindra & Mahindra saw a 33% (at 14,133 units) and 15% (22,924 units) drop, respectively, as the popularity of diesel vehicles and utility vehicles waned.

Most companies, though, expressed satisfaction that the market picked up in the festival period over the prior months.

Mahindra & Mahindra chief executive (automotive) Pravin Shah said, “During such tough and challenging times, we are heartened with our performance in October 2013 which has grown by 17% over the last month. In spite of new launches, the auto sector has witnessed a de-growth of nearly 5% during the first half of 2013-14 fiscal and the recent repo rate hike may prove to be a dampener for potential customers”.

Hyundai Motor India senior VP (sales & marketing) Rakesh Srivastava was more optimistic. “Sales have increased over last month

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