January sales: A mixed bag for the auto industry

New Delhi/Chennai, Feb 1 (IANS) The new year has not augured well for the Indian automobile industry as January sales show a mixed picture due to sluggish market condition, high interest rate and diesel price de-regulation.

While Hyundai and Mahindra & Mahindra attracted buyers, others like Tata Motors and Maruti Suzuki lost market share.

Chennai-based Hyundai Motor (HMIL) logged a growth of 4.25 percent for the month under review. Sales stood at 52,024 units from 49,901 units sold in the same period of 2012.

While domestic sales grew by 1.2 percent at 34,302 units, exports zoomed by 10.8 percent in the month under review, and stood at 17,722 units from 16,001 units shipped out in January, 2011.

"For Hyundai the year has started on a positive note with growth in its domestic and export sales," said Rakesh Srivastava, vice president, sales.

"The change in price differential between petrol and diesel prices has increased interest in petrol cars, reflecting in the waiting period of models like Eon, i20 and Verna petrol," Srivastava said, adding that marketing initiatives in the rural markets are bringing in volume growth.

Leading sports utility vehicle (SUV) manufacturer Mahindra and Mahindra's total sales in January reported a healthy 11 percent sales growth which stood at 49,503 units from 44,718 units sold in the same period last year.

The company said its domestic sales increased by 16 percent and stood at 47,841 units during January this year under review from 41,369 units sold during January 2012.

The exports, however, declined sharply by 50 percent at 1,662 units from 3,348 units shipped out in the corresponding month last year.

The company hoped the repo and cash reserve ratio (CRR) rate cuts by 25 basis points would help sales.

"The recently announced reduction of 25 BPS (basis point) both in the repo and CRR (cash reserve ratio) rates is a positive step and is expected to bring in the much desired momentum in the market," said Pravin Shah, chief executive, automotive division, M&M.

"The industry has already seen reductions in auto loan rates announced by some banks which will help improve customer sentiments," he added.

Tata Motors' last month sales turned sour with a decline of 29.5 percent. The offtake stood at 61,660 units from 87,465 units sold in corresponding month of 2012.

Segment-wise, passenger vehicles sales were down around 50 percent at 15,209 units from 34,669 units sold in the corresponding month of last year.

Passenger car major Maruti Suzuki had a marginal fall in overall sales including exports by 1.1 percent, which stood at 114,205 units sold in January from 115,433 sold in January 2012.

According to the company, its domestic sales increased by 2 percent in the month under review and stood at 103,026 units from 101,047 units sold in the like period of last year.

However, exports in the month under review grew by 22.3 percent and stood at 11,179 units from 14,386 sold in January 2011.

Segment-wise, passenger vehicle sales increased by 0.2 percent at 88,557 units from 88,377 in the same month last year.

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