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According to a SIAM report, total sales of vehicles across categories increased 35% to 11.3 lakh units in February against 8.4 lakh units in the same month last year
The Indian auto industry on Monday said its February sales have been the highest ever for a month breaking the earlier record, which was set only in January this year, as consumers rushed to beat a possible hike in prices following the Budget, reports PTI.
"The highest-ever sales by the auto industry were achieved mainly because people anticipated an excise duty hike in the Budget. Also it was pushed (up a) little by pent-up demand," SIAM director general Dilip Chenoy told reporters in New Delhi.
During the month, all the major manufacturers, including Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai Motor and General Motors reported their individual best sales ever. Domestic passenger car sales jumped by 33.2% to 1.53 lakh units in February. According to figures released by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) on Monday, motorcycle sales in the country during the month were also up 30.7% to 6.42 lakh units from 4.91 lakh units in the corresponding month last year.
Total two-wheeler sales in February grew by 32.8% to 8.4 lakh units from 6.3 lakh units in January 2009.
Sales of commercial vehicles jumped by 87.1% to 58,024 units from 31,011 units in the year-ago period, SIAM said.
Total sales of vehicles across categories increased 35% to 11.3 lakh units in February against 8.4 lakh units in the same month last year, it added.
The industry is expected to continue the robust uphill drive in the current month also as customers would try to avoid another obvious price hike in April on account of shifting to stricter emission norms, Mr Chenoy added.
Passenger cars and commercial vehicles will switch over to Bharat Stage IV emission norms in 13 cities, while the rest of the country will become Bharat Stage III compliant from April.
Mr Chenoy, however, cautioned that growth could receive a jolt if interest rates were hiked in the coming months.
"Recently, private banks have hiked rates, but in the last one year, the financing of vehicles has heavily skewed towards the public sector banks. If interest rate hikes are significant, it can be detrimental to the industry," he added.
In the motorcycle segment, sales rose 30.72% to 6.42 lakh units in February from 4.9 lakh units in the same month in 2009, SIAM said.
"The anticipation of a hike in excise duty helped the motorcycle segment to post highest monthly sales of this fiscal," Mr Chenoy said.
The Budget hiked excise duty on all non-petroleum sectors to 10% from 8%, besides raising duty on big cars, sports utility vehicles (SUVs) and multi-utility vehicles (MUVs) to 22% from 20%.
Carrying forward the upward march that began in July 2009, sales of commercial vehicles soared by 87.1% to 58,024 units against 31,011 units in the same month in 2009.
In the domestic passenger car segment, sales of market leader Maruti Suzuki increased by 18.2% to 73,812 units in February from 62,449 units in the year-ago period.
The country's second largest carmaker Hyundai Motor India also registered 46.1% growth at 31,000 units compared with 21,212 units in February 2009, SIAM said.
Tata Motors' sales rose to 22,980 units from 15,524 units in February 2009, up 48%.
In the motorcycle segment, market leader Hero Honda's sales rose 13.9% to 3.5 lakh units in February 2010 compared to 3.1 lakh units in the year-ago month.
For rival Bajaj Auto, sales soared by 94.2% to 1.8 lakh units in February against 90,473 units last year in the same month. Chennai-based TVS Motor Company posted 34.7% growth at 46,047 units from 34,183 units in the same month a year ago. Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India (HMSI) saw bike sales rise 23.9% to 45,326 units from 36,593 units.
SIAM said total two-wheeler sales in February 2010 surged 32.78% to 8.4 lakh units from 6.3 lakh units in the corresponding month in 2009.
In the scooter segment, sales jumped 44.7% to 1.5 lakh units against 1.0 lakh units in the year-ago period, it added.
HMSI's scooter sales were up 20% at 69,828 units against 58,209 units in the same month in the previous year.
SIAM said TVS Motor's scooter sales also increased by 37% at 25,979 units compared with 18,841 units in the same month in 2009. Hero Honda's scooter sales were up 46.5% at 22,641 units against 15,452 units in the year-ago period.
Three-wheeler sales during February were up 31.9% at 39,558 units compared with 30,002 units, it added. Light commercial vehicle sales rose 65.7% to 29,925 units from 18,058 units.
Medium and heavy commercial vehicle sales surged over two-fold to 28,099 units compared with 12,953 units in the same in the month previous year, SIAM said.