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Auto sales move to recovery lane as cash ban impact wears off

New Delhi: The overall automobile sales in India rose marginally in February signalling revival in the industry that was hit hard by the currency pullback in November last year.

With demonetisation impact steadily waning, overall sales across categories rose 0.94 per cent to 17,19,699 units in February compared to 17,03,736 in the same month last year. In December 2016, the overall automobile sales growth had touched a 16-year-low at 12,21,929 units, down 18.66 per cent, from 15,02,314 units in December 2015.

In January, the auto sales across categories had registered a decline of 4.71 per cent to 16,20,045 units, from 17,00,141 in January 2016. “We are now witnessing steady recovery in the industry.

Impact of demonetisation is steadily waning and we expect the impact to gradually fade away in the next 1-2 months,” SIAM Director General Vishnu Mathur told reporters here.

According to data released by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), domestic passenger vehicle sales rose 9.01 per cent to 2,55,359 units in February, from 2,34,244 a year ago.

“As dealers stocked up inventory in January itself, February sales are slightly on the lower side,” Mathur said. He, however, added that recovery is happening in both urban and rural areas and the industry is on the path to achieve close to a double-digit growth in the segment in the current fiscal.

Domestic car sales also ticked up to 1,72,623 units as against 1,64,559 in February last year, up 4.9 per cent. During February, market leader Maruti Suzuki India saw its car sales rise by 1.59 per cent to 88,541 units as against 87,149 in the same month last year. The company’s utility vehicle sales jumped over two-fold to 17,863 units as against 8,484 in February last year.

Rival Hyundai Motor India reported an increase of 2.17 per cent in its domestic car sales at 33,149 units compared with 32,442 in the year-ago period. Its utility vehicles sales came in at 9,178 units as against 8,274 last year, up 10.92 per cent.

Utility vehicle major Mahindra and Mahindra saw its sales in the utility category decline 13.63 per cent to 19,529 units last month. Its car sales were at 97 units compared with 217 last year, down 55.29 per cent, as per the SIAM data.

Total two-wheeler sales in February declined marginally to 13,62,045 units compared to 13,62,177 in the year-earlier month. The figure for motorcycles last month read 8,32,697 units as against 8,59,582 a year earlier, down 3.13 per cent.

“There is revival happening in motorcycle sales as well. The demonetisation impact that was witnessed in December and January is now tapering off,” Mathur said. Motorcycle sales were down 22 per cent in December and 6 per cent in January.

Hero MotoCorp saw its bike sales at 4,50,222 units last month as against 4,48,772 in February 2016. Rival Bajaj Auto’s motorcycle sales stood at 1,42,287 units, down 5.85 per cent year on year.

According to SIAM, Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India (HMSI) saw its bike sales decline 1.58 per cent to 1,20,170 units. Total scooter sales last month grew 3.7 per cent to

4,52,295 units.

Segment leader HMSI saw its scooter sales rise by 8.99 per cent to 2,49,952 units over the corresponding month last year. Hero MotoCorp’s scooter sales came in at 61,732 units compared to 88,156 in February 2016, down 29.97 per cent.

Chennai-based TVS Motor’s scooter sales rose 2.85 per cent to 66,666 units, from 64,815 a year ago. Sales of commercial vehicles moved up 7.34 per cent to 66,939 units in February, SIAM said.

PTI