Car sales growth slowest in 2 yrs, 10-12% expected in FY’13

Car sales growth slowest in 2 yrs, 10-12% expected in FY’13  New Delhi: Car sales in India grew by just 2.19 percent in 2011-12, the slowest in two years but industry body SIAM Tuesday said it expects the growth to be around 10-12 percent in the ongoing fiscal on better macro economic prospects.

Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) that had in January cautioned that car sales growth in India could be in negative territory, said a late surge of sales, especially in March had helped it to stay positive in FY12.

According to the latest figures issued by SIAM, total car sales in India in 2011-12 stood at 20,16,115 units as against 19,72,845 units in the previous fiscal, up 2.19 percent.

"This was the first time the car sales in the country crossed the two million units mark. A late surge of sales in the last quarter of the fiscal, specially in March, as buyers advanced purchases ahead of the Budget helped," SIAM President S Sandilya told reporters here.

In March, car sales rose by 19.66 percent to 2,29,866 units from 1,92,105 units in the same month last year.

When the global financial crisis hit in 2008-09, car sales in India grew by just 1.4 percent. Since then jumped to 25 percent in 2009-10 and 29 percent in 2010-11.

"With the indications from RBI that interest rates may come down and the overall GDP expected to be around 7.5 percent to 8 percent, the prospects of the auto industry is good for the ongoing fiscal," he said.

SIAM said it expects the car sales growth to be around 10-12 percent in 2012-13, while that of two-wheelers has been pegged at 11-13 percent.

For the overall auto industry, the industry body has projected a growth on 10-12 percent for FY13 as against 12.24 per cer cent achieved in 2011-12.

Commenting on car sales, Sandilya said in the last fiscal the industry suffered due to high interest rates, inflation and rising fuel prices. Moreover, strike at the country's largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki India's (MSI) Manesar plant had also affected availability.

In the fiscal 2011-12, MSI had posted sales of 8,55,730 units as against 9,66,447 units in the previous year in the domestic market, down 11.46 percent.

Hyundai Motor India posted sales of 3,87,168 units as against 3,58,904 units in the previous year, up 7.88 percent.

Tata Motors posted a marginal rise to 2,57,966 units from 2,55,704 units in the 2010-11.

Sandilya said in FY12, India maintained its position as the 5th largest car producing nation in the world.

Motorcycle sales in the country stood at 1,00,96,062 units in 2011-12 as against 90,13,888 units in 2010-11, up 12.01 percent.

According to SIAM, total two-wheeler sales in the country stood at 1,34,35,769 units in 2011-12 against 1,17,68,910 units in the previous fiscal, up 14.16 percent.

Scooter sales were at 25,62,841 units against 20,57,604 units in the previous year, up 24.55 percent.

"Two-wheeler continues to show good growth. While motorcycles are on a big base there is still growth and the share of rural sales has reached to 40 percent of the total," Sandilya said.

SIAM has pegged the motorcycles segment to grow around 10-12 percent in FY13, while that of scooters has been forecast to be around 15-17 percent.

"Scooter is on a lower base and the demand is mostly coming from urban areas," he said.

On the commercial vehicles front, SIAM said the total sales in FY12 were at 8,09,532 units, up 18.2 percent. The segment is pegged to grow around 9-11 percent in FY13.

"The commercial vehicles segment is cyclic and we do foresee some moderation of growth considering issues related to the mining sector," Sandilya said, however, adding if the government goes ahead with the JNNURM scheme sales of buses could pick up.

For the three-wheeler segment, that witnessed a decline of 2.43 percent at 5,13,251 in FY12, SIAM has projected a growth of 5-7 percent.

PTI