The Auto Industry as a whole seems to be on a slippery slope with new safety and emission norms scheduled to kick over the next year continuing into the next year. Domestic Passenger Vehicle sales dropped 1.11 per cent in February, making it the seventh decline in eight months, prompting auto industry body SIAM to suggest that it will miss even the scaled down forecast of 6 per cent for the ongoing fiscal.
However, SIAM (Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers) cited reasons like upcoming election and the uncertainty associated with it was a major cause of the weak market sentiment. SIAM also cited other reasons like high-interest rates and insurance costs that will continue to affect sales going forward. According to the latest SIAM data released to the press, domestic PV sales were at 2,72,284 units in February, down from 2,75,346 units in the same month previous year.
"What we are seeing is that the market sentiment is subdued. Interest rates are still high and we have not been able to recover from the impact we have had earlier on the year," SIAM Director General Vishnu Mathur told reporters here. The sales decline in February is the seventh instance in the last eight months, with the only positive growth since July last year coming in October, he added.
In the April-February period this fiscal, PV sales have grown 3.27 per cent at 30,85,640 units as against 29,87,859 units in the year-ago period. With people postponing discretionary spends like buying cars ahead of the elections, coupled with the current subdued sentiments, Mathur said it was unlikely that March sales will be high. "So we are more or less looking to end the year at around 3 per cent growth which we have witnessed so far," Mathur added.
At the beginning of the fiscal, SIAM had projected 8-10 per cent growth for PV sales but it was revised to around 6 per cent after a dip in sales from the third quarter onwards. In February, PV market leader Maruti Suzuki India posted a 0.19 per cent increase at 1,39,912 units. Hyundai Motor India saw its PV sales decline by 3.13 per cent to 43,110 units.Mahindra & Mahindra, however, posted 16.86 per cent growth at 26,106 units. SIAM said domestic car sales were also down 4.33 per cent to 1,71, 372 units as compared to 1,79,122 units in February 2018.
MSI's car sales were down 3.25 per cent at 1,00,513 units. Hyundai Motor India also witnessed a decline of 6.43 per cent at 32,792 units. Honda Cars India, however, posted a jump of 46.53 per cent at 10,920 units in February this year.
Total two-wheeler sales in February were down 4.22 per cent to 16,15,071 units compared to 16,86,180 units in the year-ago month, SIAM said. Motorcycle sales last month declined by 0.58 per cent to 10,47,486 units as against 10,53,596 units a year earlier.
Market leader Hero MotoCorp posted 1.65 per cent increase in its bike sales in February at 5,44,073 units. Rival Bajaj Auto also posted a growth of 6.28 per cent at 1,86,523 units, while Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India (HMSI) witnessed a decline of 11.66 per cent at 1,45,260 units. Scooter sales in February stood at 4,92,584 units as against 5,60,653 units in the same month last year, down 12.14 per cent.
Scooter market leader HMSI saw its sales dip by 19 per cent to 2,63,299 units during the month. Similarly, Chennai-based TVS Motor Co also witnessed 8.68 per cent drop in scooter sales at 83,543 units during the month. Hero MotoCorp posted 19.36 per cent decline at 56,543 units.