Huge discounts on offer for car buyers in December

HT Correspondent

New Delhi, Dec. 10 -- Car buyers take heart. Poor industry sales are giving you a time-window to drive festival-style discounts in late December, though January could be late as auto makers plan price hikes. Car sales slumped 8% in November, this year's festive month, as a gloomy economic outlook, high interest rates and rising cost of living kept consumers away from showrooms.

While it dashed industry's hopes of a sustained recovery in demand, consumers may still have reasons to cheer as discounts are expected to be at all-time high during the year end.

Already discounts range from Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 150,000 and above across models.

"I hope there is a role reversal this year. Diwali is generally auspicious but it wasn't (this year), while December is traditionally bad...we hope it won't," said a senior marketing official at one of the top car firms.

The slump in sales, the steepest since August, came just when things had started to look rosy in October when it grew the fastest in 22 months.

Car sales have grown just 1.3% in the April-November period from a year previously, a poor show for an industry that is touted as one of the fastest growing in the world.

"We had anticipated that not all months will be good," said Sugato Sen, deputy director general of the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM).

"Cars are still within our forecast. But two wheeler sales have grown at a slower clip," he added.

A total of 158,257 cars were sold in November, down 8.3% from last year, while two wheeler sales grew at just 1.23% to 11,75,429 units. Commercial vehicle sales also declined by 7.3% to 61,410 units. The only silver lining was utility vehicles and SUVs that registered a growth of almost 70% to 48,692 units propping up the number for passenger vehicles during the process.

Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.