Car sales pick up speed in February

Major auto makers Maruti, Toyota, Tata Motors, Honda and Ford on Wednesday reported a robust growth in domestic passenger vehicles sales for February as the industry continued to accelerate out of the slowdown phase in the wake of demonetization.

Major auto makers Maruti, Toyota, Tata Motors, Honda and Ford on Wednesday reported a robust growth in domestic passenger vehicles sales for February as the industry continued to accelerate out of the slowdown phase in the wake of demonetization.

The country's largest car maker, Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) said its domestic sales shot up 11.7 per cent to 1,20,735 units during the month from 1,08,115 in February last year. Sales of utility vehicles, including Grand Vitara, Ertiga, SCross and compact SUV Vitara Brezza, more than doubled to 17,863 units in February, from 8,484 in the same month last year, the company said.

The sales in the compact segment comprising Swift, Estilo, Dzire and Baleno, grew by 9.4 per cent to 47,002 units during the month.

However, MSI's sales of mini segment cars, including Alto and WagonR, were down 6.8 per cent at 33,079 units in February. Ford India reported a 52 per cent jump in its domestic sales at 8,338 units last month as against 5,483 in the same period a year earlier.

Ford India Executive Director, Marketing, Sales and Service Anurag Mehrotra said the industry is seeing some green shoots, recovering from the impact of demonetisation. TOYOTA Kirloskar Motor also reported an 11.93 per cent growth in domestic sales at 11,543 units in February as its new Fortuner and Innova Crysta models pulled in buyers.

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Similarly, French auto major Renault reported 26.8 per cent increase in sales at 11,198 units in India in February compared to the year-ago month on the back of its popular Duster and Kwid models.

Tata Motors said sales of passenger vehicles in the domestic market went up by 12 per cent to 12,272 units last month. Tata Motors President, Passenger Vehicle Business Unit, Mayank Pareek said the growth in February was due to a continued strong demand for the Tata Tiago. Honda Cars India Ltd (HCIL) also reported a 9.44 per cent increase in domestic sales at 14,249 units in February as against 13,020 sold in the same month last year.

The market has shown positive sentiment during February and HCIL has also benefited from it, HCIL President and CEO Yoichiro Ueno said. Hyundai Motor India Ltd (HMIL) said its domestic sales were up 4 per cent at 42,327 units during the month as against 40,716 units in the yearearlier period. HMIL Senior Vice President - Sales and Marketing, Rakesh Srivastava said during the month, there was increased customer visits and conversions on the strength of improved customer confidence generated by the Union Budget, positively impacting the customer disposable income and overall business sentiments.

Nissan Motor India reported 24.86 per cent increase in domestic sales in February at 4,807 units as against 3,850 sold in the same month last year. Home-grown utility vehicles major Mahindra & Mahindra, however, reported a 2.26 per cent decline in its domestic market at 40,414 units last month compared to 41,348 in February 2016. The auto industry is seeing some positive trends emerging over the last two months. With rural sentiment improving, we believe there will be a turnaround in demand over the next few months for small commercial vehicles space, M&M Chief Executive (auto division) Pravin Shah said.

In the two-wheeler segment, Royal Enfield, the two-wheeler division of Eicher Motors, reported an 18.88 per cent jump in total sales at 58,439 units in February as against 49,156 in the same month last year.