Auto makers end fiscal on upbeat note

The stimulus package, low rates of finance, new model launches and aggressive marketing by various players have been critical drivers of growth in the last fiscal

The country's major automakers like Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai and Hero Honda, have reported robust monthly sales in March, despite price hikes following increase in excise duty, helping 2009-10 end on a strong note, reports PTI.

Continuing with the push that it had got from the stimulus packages, low interest rates and new model launches, car sales carried forward growth momentum in March that the industry had witnessed in the whole of the fiscal 2009-10.

According to industry players, consumers' attempt to beat another round of possible price hikes due new emission norms effective from April also helped boost sales.

Led by market leader Maruti Suzuki, carmakers have also registered healthy jumps for the fiscal.

Maruti Suzuki India crossed the 10-lakh sales mark in a single year, the first by any Indian carmaker.

Commenting on the good growth, Ernst & Young national leader (Automotive Sector) Rakesh Batra told PTI, “We have seen the growth momentum continue in March 2010 and can estimate the passenger vehicle industry to end the fiscal with a healthy growth of over 25%.”

The stimulus package, low rates of finance, new model launches and aggressive marketing by various players have been "critical drivers" of the growth in the last fiscal, he added.

“The increase in sales for the month of March can also be attributed to the hike in prices that have come into effect from 1 April 2010, because of increase in input costs, the implementation of BS-IV and the increase in local road tax and local sales tax,” Toyota Kirloskar Motors deputy managing director (Marketing) Sandeep Singh said.

In March, Maruti Suzuki reported an 11.04% jump in its total sales at 95,123 units against 85,669 units during the same month last year.

Rival Hyundai Motor's total sales grew by 19.23% to 55,035 units against 46,159 units in the year-ago period. Its domestic sales are at 31,501 units, the highest ever so far.

Automaker Mahindra & Mahindra witnessed an increase of 16.30% in domestic sales for March at 29,944 units.{break}

General Motors India saw its highest-ever monthly sales in March at 11,330 units, a two-fold jump compared to the year-ago period, on the back of a strong showing by its small cars ‘Beat’ and ‘Spark’.

Ford India reported a three-fold jump in its sales at 9,478 units on the back of its newly-launched hatchback ‘Figo’ getting a good response. Toyota Kirloskar Motors reported 90.01% jump in sales at 6,905 units during March.

However, Honda Siel Cars India reported a 19.54% fall in its sales during March at 5,928 units. .

In the two-wheeler segment, market leader Hero Honda saw a 17.35% increase in sales at 4,14,638 units last month, the best-ever reported by the company for March. While Chennai-based TVS Motor Company's sales increased 24.35% to 1,46,736 units, Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India reported 76.25% jump in its total sales at 1,44,288 units in March.

India Yamaha Motor reported a 27.30% growth in its sales at 27,460 units. Likewise, Suzuki Motorcycle India also witnessed a jump of 76.13% in its sales in March at 21,752 units.

For the entire 2009-10 fiscal, Maruti Suzuki reported a rise of 28.55% in its annual sales at 10,18,365 units, as against 7,92,167 units during the previous fiscal.

Hyundai Motor India registered 20.79% jump in its total sales at 6,00,588 units as against 4,97,206 units.

Domestic sales of Mahindra & Mahindra in FY'10 stood at 2,86,713 units as against 2,20,215 units, up 30.20%. Toyota Kirloskar posted 36% rise for the entire fiscal at 63,837 units.

Honda Siel Cars registered an increase of 17.92% in its annual sales at 61,815 units as against 52,420 units in FY'09.

In the two-wheeler segment, Hero Honda registered sales of 46,00,130 units during 2009-10, up 23.59%. It had set a target of 40 lakh units for the fiscal. TVS Motor also reported a rise of 14.80% in its total two-wheeler sales at 15,21,912 units. India Yamaha also reported a jump of 44.38% in its annual sales at 2,90,211 units.

Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India reported an 18.7% growth in its total sales for the 2009-10 fiscal at 12.70 lakh units, on the back of new product launches. "(The) outlook for FY'11 is strong, though growth may be in the 15%-20% range. With the steep increase in commodity prices, manufacturers will be under pressure for profitability, which will be the key focus in FY'11,” Mr Batra said.

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