Auto makers see steady sales in January
Moneylife Digital Team 01 February 2011

Allaying fears of a slowdown, automakers have reported a steady growth in sales in January 2011. But the stock market does not seem as happy, as the BSE auto index fell 2.8% along with the rest of the market today

Auto sales are expected to slow down this year after the record 30% growth in 2010, but that isn't happening yet. From the sales figures announced by some of the major companies on Tuesday, it seems that last year's trend in sales has continued into January 2011. But two-wheeler makers have registered higher growth numbers than four-wheeler manufacturers during the first month of 2011.

Analysts expect that the hike in interest rates, rising fuel prices and vehicle costs could slow sales growth this year. Auto stocks were down today, in line with the overall drop in the market. Tata Motors was down nearly 7% to Rs1,068 on the Bombay Stock Exchange, whereas Maruti Suzuki lost about 1% to Rs1,240. Mahindra & Mahindra also lost 1% to Rs 705. TVS Motors was down nearly 5% to Rs51.70. The Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) Auto Index fell 2.8% to 2138.7 points from 2228.7 points and the Sensex was down 1.6% to 18,022.

Tata Motors today reported a 15% growth in January sales at 75,423 units, compared to 65,478 units in the corresponding month last year. The company's total passenger vehicle sales in the domestic market for January 2011 was 30,212 units, which is a jump of 15% over the previous corresponding period, Tata Motors said in a statement.

Tata Motors' small car Nano, sold 6,703 units in January, a good 68% growth after struggling for some months to roll off the assembly lines. However, Tata Indica reported sales of 10,591 units, which is 8% lower compared to January 2010, the company said. The Indigo family recorded sales of 8,456 units, a rise of 17% over the corresponding month a year ago. Sales of Sumo, Safari, Aria and Venture range increased 26% to 4,462 units.  

Utility vehicle maker Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) reported a 22% increase in sales in January to 36,718 units. This included the sale of 20,500 tractors compared to 16,334 tractors sold in December 2010 and 2,100 exported y-o-y. Pawan Goenka , president, automotive and farm equipment business, M&M, said this was the highest sales for the company in any month and it would launch 8-10 new models launches during FY12.

Maruti Suzuki, the country's largest carmaker reported a 14.73% rise in sales to 1,09,743 units, in January 2011. Sales in the corresponding month last year was 95,649 units. Sales in the domestic market stood at 1,00,422 units in January 2011, a more than 23% increase from 81,087 units in the year-ago period.

Maruti Suzuki's exports in January 2011, however, fell by 36% from 14,562 units in January last year to 9,321 units, the company said. Sales of the M800 model also declined by 24% from 2,494 units in January last year to 1,876 units in January this year. Sales in the A2 segment that comprises Alto, WagonR, Estilo, Swift, A-Star and Ritz models, saw a 23% growth.

Chennai-based TVS Motor Company registered a 30% jump in January sales to 165,152 units. It sold 127,288 units in the month last year. Its two-wheeler sales increased by 29% in January, from 125,578 units in the year-ago period to 161,725 units.

Motorcycle sales of TVS Motors rose by 24% to 67,721 units from 54,698 units. Scooter sales grew by 60% to 40,736 units, as against 25,509 units in the period last year. Domestic two-wheeler sales in January stood at 142,227 units, up 30% from 109,504 units in the corresponding month in 2010.

Sales for Hero Honda Motors, India's largest motorcycle maker, rose by almost a fifth in January  from a year earlier to 466,524 units. Hero Honda is a joint venture between the Hero group and Japan's Honda Motor Company. In December, the Hero group said it would buy Honda's 26% stake in the joint venture.

Two-wheeler maker Suzuki Motorcycle reported a 40% growth in January sales to 28,598 units compared to 20,448 units sold in the year-ago period. The India subsidiary of Suzuki Motor Corp of Japan, makes and sells scooters and motorcycles like Access 125, SlingShot, GS150R, Hayabusa 1300 and Bandit 1250S in its portfolio.

Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM), a joint venture between Toyota Motor Corp and the Kirloskar group has registered a growth of 53% in sales in January 2011, compared to the same period last year. It sold 9,185 units in January against 5,989 units in the corresponding month last year. The Etios, which was launched in December 2010, has seen an overwhelming response with more than 22,000 bookings received so far. In January, the company delivered 1651 units, it said.

Driven by demand for the hatchback Figo, Ford India reported a four-fold increase for January 2011 at 10,026 units, against 2,453 units sold over the same period last year.

General Motors said its sales also grew by 6% to 9,984 units in January 2011 from 9,421 units in January last year. "The increase in sales was primarily driven by the response to Chevrolet Beat, Spark and Cruze, introduction of the best-in-segment cars from the 300 series and increase in customer outreach through the distribution network," GM India vice-president P Balendran said.

SkodaAuto India, a fully owned subsidiary of SkodaAuto a.s., Czech Republic announced a sales growth of 51% for January 2011. SkodaAuto India’s total sales for January 2011 stood at 2,825 units against 1,881 units same month last year.

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