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Auto sales in April giving mixed signals

April auto sales remained a subdued affair with top car and two-wheeler makers reporting modest growth. Honda, Toyota, Nissan and M&M reported robust numbers on good demand for their new launches

Automobile sales in April remained a mixed bag with several top carmakers like Maruti Suzuki India and Tata Motors reporting modest growth. Nissan Motor India, Toyota Kirloskar Motor, Mahindra and Mahindra (M&M) and General Motors, however, reported robust numbers in April due to overwhelming response to their launches. According to industry sources, even the enquiry level across the country has gone down due to subdued market sentiments.

During April, Maruti Suzuki, the country’s largest carmaker reported a modest growth of 3.6% to 90,255 units, mainly due to good demand for its diesel-based Swift and DZire variants. However, sales of its entry-level car Alto continued to show downward growth. Similarly, Tata Motors also recorded a modest growth of 3% to 22,658 units. In April, the country’s largest automaker saw sales of its small car, Nano falling by almost a fifth to 8,028 units, from same month last year.

On the other hand, new entrant, Nissan Motor said its April sales rose 187% to 3,467 units, led by its newly launched sedan—Sunny. The company sold 2,012 units of Sunny in April. The Micra compact premium hatchback accounted for 1,435 unit sales last month—a 19% increase compared to the same period in 2011. The X-TRAIL, a lifestyle SUV, Teana, a premium sedan and the iconic 370Z sports car comprised the remaining sales.

Riding high on the back of its new Innova and Fortuner, Toyota Kirloskar reported a 49% growth in April. During the month, the company sold 14,378 units compared with 9,681 units a year ago. The company sold 6,582 units of Innova and 1,270 units of Fortuner compared with 3,464 units and 739 units, respectively, same month last year.
Sandeep Singh, deputy managing director for marketing, Toyota Kirloskar, said, “The Etios series, Innova and Fortuner continued to register growth in April. However, the market sentiments seem to be low with the enquiry levels gone down across the industry.”

India's largest utility vehicle (UV) maker, M&M reported a 27% increase in its April sales on robust demand for its passenger vehicle segment. It sold 40,719 units as against 32,090 units recorded in April 2011. General Motors witnessed a 20% fall to 8,005 units in its car sales during April. Last month, the company sold 821 units of the small car Spark, 4,586 units of hatchback Beat, 140 units of entry-level sedan Aveo, 28 units of mid-sized sedan Optra and 455 units of luxury sedan Cruze. It also sold 1,953 units of multi-purpose vehicle Tavera and 22 units of sports utility vehicle Captiva during the month.
P Balendran, vice president, GM India, said, "The sales were not on expected lines as uncertainty in fuel prices, hike in excise duty and hike in local taxes in some states continue to put a lot of pressure on the automobile market.”

In two-wheeler segment, except Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India (HMSI), all others reported a modest growth. Hero MotoCorp, the country’s largest two-wheeler manufacturer registered 6.6% growth to 551,557 units, while Bajaj Auto, the second largest bike maker, reported 4% growth in April. Bajaj Auto sold 3,81,590 units in the month compared with 3,67,309 units a year ago. While Bajaj's motorcycle sales grew 6% at 342,324 units, commercial vehicles reported 13% decline to 39,266 units in April, compared to the same month in 2011. During April, TVS Motor Co and Yamaha Motor registered a 4% and 6% growth to 1,74,455 and 36,581 units respectively.

HMSI, however, continued to report strong numbers on the back of robust demand for its Activa scooter. During April, HMSI sold 1,98,831 units, a jump of 45.5% from 1,36,622 units it sold same month last year.


Tata Motors ends distribution alliance with Fiat

Fiat will set up a new company for taking over all its brand related activities from the Tata-team

Mumbai: Auto majors Tata Motors and Fiat on Wednesday said they have ended the distribution alliance formed in 2007 to distribute and service the vehicles of the Italian company.

As part of a 50:50 joint venture agreement signed in 2007, the two companies had agreed to a joint distribution network and back-end support, besides co-manufacturing of products at the Ranjangaon facility near Pune.

"Fiat and Tata have agreed that in order to further develop the Fiat brand in India, management control of Fiat's commercial and distribution activities will be handed over to a separate Fiat Group owned company. Currently, Tata Motors has been managing the distribution responsibility of the Fiat branded products in India through joint Tata-Fiat dealerships," the companies said in a joint statement.

In its five years of operation, the industrial JV has produced some 190,000 cars and 337,000 powertrains. It will continue with these manufacturing activities as they are outside of the new distribution agreement and will supply cars and powertrains to Fiat and Tata, the statement added.

Last year Tata Group Chief Ratan Tata had said the Fiat association needed to be critically examined to optimise its potential. "... I have to admit that so far, the venture with Fiat has not been as active as we had thought," Mr Tata had said.

Fiat will set up a separate company which will assume responsibility for all commercial and service related activities from the current Tata-dedicated team assigned to manage the Fiat brand, the statement said.

"Both, Fiat and Tata will endeavor to ensure a smooth transition of sales and service support to customers and the dealer network," it added.


Orchid Pharma gets FDA nod for Naratriptan tablets

Naratriptan tablets, used for the treatment of migraine headaches, are the generic equivalent of GSK's Amerge tablets

Mumbai: Chennai-based pharma company, Orchid Chemicals & Pharmaceuticals Ltd on Wendesday announced that it has received approval from US FDA for its ANDA (Abbreviated New Drug Application) for Naratriptan tablets in the 1 mg and 2.5 mg strengths, reports PTI.

Naratriptan tablets, is used for the treatment of migraine headaches are the generic equivalent of GSK's Amerge tablets, a company statement said.

With exports spanning more than 75 countries, Orchid is the largest manufacturer-exporter of cephalosporin bulk actives in India and is ranked amongst the Top 5-cephalosporin producers in the world.


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