After dull Diwali, car prices may fall

New Delhi, Dec. 2 -- The automobile industry celebrated a muted Diwali this year as car and two-wheeler sales fell significantly even though companies launched new cars and doled out big discounts. But the lacklustre November means discounts are likely to get better this month which, being the last month in the year, is traditionally a lean period for marketers.

Maruti Suzuki, Mahindra and Mahindra and Honda were the only companies to show growth, while the rest of the industry recorded a sharp decline in sales despite a low base in November last year as both Dussehra and Diwali fell in October.

Maruti saw its sales grow by almost 10% as its recently launched Alto 800 and traditional bestsellers Swift and D'zire propped up its numbers.

Even then, its tally in November was lower than in October, indicating a sudden drop in sales in the latter half of the month post Diwali.

Hyundai, Tata, Toyota and Ford found the going much tougher. Hyundai registered almost a flat month while Tata saw a steep 35% decline in sales.

"The adverse market conditions due to high interest rates and inflation continued to pose challenges for growth," said Rakesh Srivastava, vice president, marketing and sales, Hyundai Motor India Ltd.

Two-wheeler manufacturers also had little to cheer as market leader Hero MotoCorp and TVS saw lower sales even though Honda continued its bull run into the festive season. Suzuki and Yamaha also registered good growth albeit on a lower base.

Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.