Subdued passenger vehicle sales expected in March

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Updated: April 3, 2016 12:43:06 AM

Passenger vehicle sales in March are likely to remain subdued, though they will be better than the previous two months, according to analysts’ estimates.

Passenger vehicle sales in March are likely to remain subdued, though they will be better than the previous two months, according to analysts’ estimates. Wholesale passenger vehicle sales growth in March is expected to be in the range of 4-5%, compared with 0.6% in January and 1.7% in February. For the April-February period, passenger vehicle sales have seen a growth of 7.5%. Overall, for 2015-16, passenger vehicle sales is expected to grow around 7%, which could be the highest in the last five years.

R S Kalsi, executive director – marketing and sales at Maruti Suzuki, said that March sales are expected to be better than in January and February, even though there have been fewer working days on account of public holidays. “Even for this quarter, we will be positive,” he said.

Passenger vehicle sales for Maruti, with a 47% market share in April-February, have grown less than 1% in January and February. Passenger cars, which make up over 80% of Maruti’s volumes, in fact, declined 1.4% and 3.9% in January and February, respectively. A Nomura report on March 29 pegged Maruti’s domestic sales to grow at 13.8% year-on-year in March, mainly due to the ramp-up of new launches Baleno and Vitara Brezza.

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“There is no big buoyancy in the market and the increase in prices due to the infrastructure cess has also had some impact on customer sentiment,” Kalsi said, adding that the retail sales are lower than the reported sales numbers, which reflect the wholesale despatches from companies to dealerships. A Delhi-based dealership with multiple outlets said that retail sales are growing around 5-7% overall, and the numbers will be a few notches higher for Maruti and Hyundai.

At the same time, wholesale purchases for the dealerships have been higher compared to January and February. Demand continues to be higher for models that have been launched and upgraded in recent months.

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