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New models drive car sales in April

LiveMint logoLiveMint 01-05-2017 Shally Seth Mohile

Mumbai: Most automakers on Monday reported brisk passenger sales in April in a strong start to the new financial year, attracting consumers with new model launches amid prospects of normal monsoon rainfall and healthy economic growth.

Car market leader Maruti Suzuki India Ltd’s domestic sales rose 23.4% to 144,492 units in April over the year-ago period. The performance was led by robust growth across all segments. Sales of entry-level cars rose 21.9%, compact cars 39.1%, and mid-size and utility vehicles 23.2% and 28.6%, respectively, over the same month a year ago, the company said.

Maruti’s compact car models, including the Swift Dzire and Dzire Tour, accounted for sales of 63,854 units, up from 45,700 units last year.

With the launch of new models, including the new generation Swift and Dzire later this month, Maruti’s strong sales run is likely to continue in the current fiscal year.

Prospects of a rebound in economic growth and normal monsoon rains predicted by official agencies this year portend well for vehicle sales in India. Normal rains in the June-September monsoon are expected to boost rural demand and ease agricultural distress experienced by parts of the country.

“The overall sentiment is really positive,” said Abdul Majeed, auto practice head at consulting firm PwC India, adding that benign interest rates had also helped bolster consumer sentiment.

Barring a couple of months after the invalidation of high-value banknotes in November, passenger vehicles sales in India have been growing at a healthy clip. Sales crossed 3 million units for the first time in the year to 31 March, growing at the fastest rate in six years, industry lobby group Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers said last month.

Hyundai Motor India Ltd, the second largest car-maker in India, sold 44,758 units, up 5.7% over a year ago.

On the back of new models, sales at Honda Cars India Ltd and Toyota Kirloskar Motor Pvt. Ltd rose 38% and 52%, respectively.

Honda launched the WR-V, a compact sports utility vehicle, in mid-March and received 12,000 bookings for the model. It also launched in February a refreshed version of its flagship Honda City, for which it received 25,000 bookings. The City was dislodged in the year ended March as India’s largest selling sedan by Maruti’s Ciaz.

N. Raja, director and senior vice president at Toyota, said sales volumes were propelled by the new generation Fortuner, of which it has sold 12,200 units in less than six months of its launch.

Sales at Tata Motors Ltd were paced by newly launched models including the Hexa sports utility vehicle and Tiagor compact sedan. Passenger vehicles sales at the firm rose 23% to 12,827.

Albeit on a low base, Nissan Motor India Pvt Ltd and Volkswagen Passenger Cars India Pvt. Ltd posted 39% and 38% growth in sales during the month over a year ago.

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