With robust sales across segments in January, the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) on Monday said it expects demand to be strong during the remaining two months of the fiscal — February and March — while revising its initial growth estimates. During January, barring cars, where sales declined by 1.25% compared with the same month last year, all other segments showed sales growth on expected lines. According to SIAM, car sales showed a declining trend throughout the year as consumers have started preferring utility vehicles.
The industry body now expects to close the year with passenger vehicle (PV) segment registering a growth of around 9% against its initial projection of 7-9%. Similarly, commercial vehicles sales growth during the year is projected to be around 13% from the earlier estimate of 4-6%; and two-wheelers 12% against the previous forecast of 9-11%.
SIAM said that with rural demand picking up and with the start of mining operations and preference for high-tonnage truck, sales of two-wheelers and commercial vehicles, respectively, would grow and, therefore, the projections for the next fiscal would be on the higher side.
During January, domestic PV sales grew by 7.57% to 2,85,477 units, which was on the back of robust growth of utility vehicles which posted the second highest ever monthly volume during the year.
“The overall growth in the PV sales in January is as per expectations and is also a reflection of the mood ahead of the Auto Expo,” SIAM director general Vishnu Mathur said. The growth driver continues to be the utility vehicles (UV) segment, as it continued to draw a lot of customers, he added. UV sales during the month stood at 85,850 units, a growth of 37.88%. This is the best show after July 2017 when sales were at 86,874 units.
The lacklustre sales of cars is largely due to consumers no longer preferring entry-level products. For perspective: Whereas Maruti Suzuki India’s UVs saw a year-on-year growth of 26.8%, its entry-level vehicles comprising Alto an WagonR saw a decline of 12.2%.
Total two-wheeler sales in January grew by 33.43% to 16,84,066 units, which SIAM said reflected the overall strong demand for motorcycles and scooters in rural as well as urban markets. Motorcycle sales grew by 28.64% to 10,54,062 units while scooters grew by 48.29% at 553,695 units.
Sales of commercial vehicles grew by 39.73% to 85,660 units while vehicle sales across categories registered 30.71% growth at 21,17,746 units.