Robotic arms assemble a sport-utility vehicle on the production line at a facility in Chakan, Maharashtra, India. (Photographer: Udit Kulshrestha/Bloomberg)

Passenger Vehicle, Car Sales Drop In August

Domestic passenger vehicle sales fell for the second month in a row in August. The 2.46 percent decline resulted from a high base effect and partial impact of floods in Kerala, automobile industry body SIAM said today.

Domestic passenger vehicle sales stood at 2.87 lakh units last month compared with 2.94 lakh units in the year ago period, according to the data released by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers. Car sales declined 1.03 percent year-on-year to 1.96 lakh units in August.

“There is a high-base effect, as sales last year from July-September were high after the goods and services tax implementation,” SIAM Director General Vishnu Mathur said. There is also some impact of floods, especially in Kerala which is a big automotive market, he said.

Mathur, however, said the high fuel prices had little impact on sales. “Fuel prices keep fluctuating and it doesn’t have an immediate impact on sales, although in the long term it can have some impact.”

Market leader Maruti Suzuki India Ltd.’s passenger vehicle sales declined 3.55 percent to 1.45 lakh units in August. Sales of rival Hyundai Motor India fell 2.76 percent to 45,801 units. Tata Motors, however, posted a 24.98 percent jump in its passenger vehicle sales at 20,323 units during the month.

Motorcycle sales last month grew 6.18 percent year-on-year to 12.06 lakh units in August, the SIAM data showed. Scooter sales were marginally down at 6,69,416 units compared with 6,73,444 units in August last year.

The total two-wheeler sales in August were higher by 2.91 percent at 19.46 lakh units against 18.91 lakh units a year ago. “Two-wheeler sales were partially affected by the restriction imposed in West Bengal on new purchases without a driving licence,” Mathur said.

In the motorcycle segment, market leader Hero MotoCorp posted a 1.29 percent increase in sales at 5.91 lakh units in August. Rival Bajaj Auto’s sales jumped 27.25 percent to 2.18 lakh units.

Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India posted a 4.9 percent increase in its bike sales at 2.01 lakh units last month. In the scooter segment, leader HMSI’s sales dipped 4.66 percent to 3,75,901 units. Chennai-based TVS Motor Co, however, posted a 9.8 percent increase in sales at 1.20 lakh units.

Hero MotoCorp’s scooter sales in August were at 71,639 units, down 7.73 percent.

Sales of commercial vehicles jumped 29.56 percent to 84,668 units in August against 65,350 units in the year-ago month.

Considering how this segment has grown above expectations, we are considering re-looking at our forecast for an upward revision, SIAM Deputy Director General Sugato Sen said.

SIAM had earlier projected that the commercial vehicle segment can grow 10-12 percent in the ongoing financial year. In the April-August period, however, the segment has grown 41.67 percent year-on-year to 3.91 lakh units.

The auto industry body said vehicle sales across categories in August grew 3.43 percent to 23.81 lakh units from 23.02 lakh units in the same month last year.