New Delhi: Car sales in India fell for the sixth month in a row in April, the longest stretch of decline since industry body SAIM started collating data in 1997-1998, as weak consumer sentiments, high interest costs and other macro-economic factors continued to hurt demand.
According to the data released by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), domestic passenger car sales declined by 10.43 percent to 1,50,789 units in April this year compared to 1,68,354 units in the same month of 2012.
"Weak consumer sentiment is affecting car sales. The Budget hasn't done anything to improve market sentiments. This is the sixth month that we are witnessing fall in car sales," SIAM Deputy Director General Sugato Sen told reporters here.
He said the last longest stretch of fall in domestic car sales was between March 2002 and July 2002.
"Car sales have been falling in India since November last year. We have never witnessed such a long consecutive decline in car sales since data has been analysed by SIAM since 1997-98," Sen added.
Although the cut in petrol price by Rs 3 per litre last month is a positive signal, he said other factors like high interest rates, despite witnessing a marginal decline recently, continue to affect demand. Previously interest on car loans ranged around 11-15 percent.
On the outlook, Sen said: "The decline in sales is expected to continue for about the next two months and we may see some growth as buyers of entry level small cars have started coming to showrooms after the positive signals on the fuel price front."
Launch of new models by different companies, such as Amaze by Honda Cars India and Enjoy by General Motors India, could also help in boosting sales in the coming months, Sen added.
"After three-four months, we are hopeful that car sales will begin to grow," he said.
During April this year, market leader Maruti Suzuki India posted a growth of 4.89 percent in its domestic car sales at 76,509 units from 72,939 units in the same month last year.
Rival Hyundai Motor India, however, had a 7.53 percent decline in sales at 32,364 units as compared to 35,000 units last April. Homegrown major Tata Motors sales crashed by 52.07 percent to 8,918 units from 18,610 units during the period under review.
Sen said the rate of decline in car sales for April this year at 10.43 percent is the highest since 2002, when it fell by 22.82 percent in the same month.
According to the SIAM figures, motorcycle sales in April declined by 2.06 percent to 8,43,889 units from 8,61,608 units in the same month previous year.
Market leader Hero MotoCorp (HMC) posted 12.5 percent decline in bike sales at 4,32,657 units from 4,94,473 units in April last year. Rival Bajaj Auto also saw its sales dip marginally to 1,99,838 units from 2,00,228 units in April last year.
Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India (HMSI), however, posted 48.76 percent increase in bike sales at 1,15,536 units as against 77,665 units in the year-ago month.
Total domestic scooter sales in April this year stood at 2,61,475 units as against 2,27,924 units in the same month last year, up 14.72 percent, SIAM said.
HMC's scooter sales stood at 55,573 units as against 40,354 units last year, up 37.71 percent. HMSI saw its scooter sales grow by 15.47 percent to 1,33,769 units from 1,15,846 units in April last year.
Chennai-based TVS Motor Co posted 12.45 percent decline in scooter sales during April this year at 28,659 units from 32,736 units in the same month last year.
SIAM said total two-wheeler sales in April 2013 grew by 0.95 percent to 11,68,080 units from 11,57,114 units in the same period of previous year.
Three-wheeler sales in the domestic market in April stood at 34,348 units as against 32,044 units in the same month last year, up 7.19 percent.
Total sales of commercial vehicles grew by 0.75 percent to 56,678 units from 56,257 units in the year-ago period, SIAM said.
Total sale of vehicles across categories registered a decline of 0.34 percent to 14,67,492 units in April 2013 against 14,72,452 units in the same month of 2012, it added.
First Published: Friday, May 10, 2013, 11:00