Auto sales cross a record 11 lakh units in January

Helped by easy availability of retail finance and soft interest rates, India's auto sales during January rose about 45% to 11.14 lakh units

The Indian auto industry on Tuesday reported the highest-ever sales in a single month at over 11 lakh units in January, boosted by easy availability of retail finance and soft interest rates, reports PTI.

According to the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), the total sales in the domestic market stood at 11,14,157 units, against 7,68,698 units in the year-ago period, a jump of 44.9%.

"These are the highest-ever sales (recorded) by the auto industry. Economic growth, reduced interest rates and better money supply have helped the industry in posting such growth," SIAM director general Dilip Chenoy told reporters in New Delhi.

He said the high growth in terms of percentage in January was also contributed by last year's low base. "Reduced commodity prices compared to last year also helped."

The earlier record for highest sales by the industry was in October 2006, at 10,17,198 units.

The domestic passenger car segment also posted its highest-ever sales at 1,45,905 units, against 1,10,300 units, up 32.3%, in the corresponding month last year. It was the 10th straight month of growth for this segment.

Car manufacturers had earlier touched a sales peak of 1,29,358 units in March 2009, Mr Chenoy said.

During the month, major manufacturers including Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai Motor, General Motors and Mahindra & Mahindra reported their individual record-breaking sales.

Asked about prospects for February, he said, "It will depend on multiple factors like pent-up demand and price rise. We will still have good growth in the month."

According to SIAM figures, motorcycle sales rose 43.7% to 6,50,633 units in the past month from 4,52,809 units in January 2009.

Carrying forward the upward march that began in July 2009, sales of commercial vehicles in the country soared over two-fold to 53,447 units, against 23,154 units in the same month in 2009.

In the domestic passenger car segment, sales of market leader Maruti Suzuki increased 18.6% to 70,029 units in January from 59,060 units in the year-ago period.

The country's second-largest carmaker, Hyundai Motor India, also registered 40.9% growth at 29,601 units compared to 21,015 units in January 2009, SIAM said. Tata Motors' sales rose to 22,707 units from 15,406 units in January 2009, up 47.4%.

In the motorcycle segment, market leader Hero Honda's sales moved up 24% to 3,66,050 units in January 2010 compared to 2,95,241 units in the year-ago month. Its rival Bajaj Auto's sales soared nearly three-fold to 1,79,212 units, against 66,207 units.

Chennai-based TVS Motor Company also posted 31% growth at 39,654 units from 30,271 units in the same month a year ago. Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India saw its bike sales rise 9.5% to 40,174 units from 36,677 units.
SIAM said that total two-wheeler sales in January 2010 surged by 43.4% to 8,34,383 units from 5,81,729 units in the corresponding month in 2009.

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