December looks to be even worse for the industry

Passenger car sales declined by 8.25 per cent in November as the festive season spirit failed to prolong enthusiasm among consumers, whose sentiments remained low due to high interest rates and fuel prices and other macro-economic factors.

With a subdued growth in sales of two-wheelers, the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), on Monday, said it might revise the forecast downward for 2012-13 next month.

According to November sales data of automobiles released by SIAM, total sales of vehicles across categories registered an increase of 1.79 per cent at 15.16 lakh units last month as against 14.89 lakh units in the year-ago month.

In the passenger car segment, sales fell by 8.25 per cent to 1.58 lakh units last month from 1.72 lakh units in the same month last year.

“The carryover from the festive season was not there. Market continues to be tough due to the same reasons such as high interest rates and fuel prices, and low consumer sentiments,” SIAM Director-General Vishnu Mathur told reporters here.

This was the steepest decline since August when sales dropped by 18.56 per cent, he added.

Talking about the current month, Mr. Mathur said: “December month looks to be even worse as historically we never had higher sales in the month compared to October and November.”

When asked if the industry body would revise the yearly car sales forecast for the fourth time next month, he said SIAM might not revise it as the April-November sales growth stood at 1.28 per cent, which falls within the forecast of 1-3 per cent for the fiscal.

“...but for the two-wheelers that (sales growth forecast for 2012-13) was at 4.05 per cent for the period, is lower than 5-7 per cent for the fiscal. Therefore, we may have to revise it,” Mr. Mathur said.

He said the overall slow economic growth of the country and consumers becoming insecure about their jobs had compounded problems and had hit the entry level small car segment.

During the month, market leader Maruti Suzuki’s sales rose by 2.35 per cent to 74,793 units. Rival Hyundai Motor India’s sales, however, decreased marginally to 34,698 units. Homegrown auto major Tata Motors’ car sales were down by 42.49 per cent at 13,538 units.

In the two-wheeler segment, total sales in November rose by 1.23 per cent to 11.75 lakh units from 11.61 lakh units in November, 2011.

Motorcycle sales last month went up marginally to 8.68 lakh units from 8.67 lakh in the year-ago month.

The scooter segment’s overall sales grew by 6.64 per cent to 2.44 lakh units from 2.29 lakh units. Total sales of commercial vehicles in November were down by 7.31 per cent at 61,410 units against 66,254 units in the year-ago period, SIAM said.

Medium and heavy commercial vehicle sales declined by 33.22 per cent to 17,441 units from 26,119 units in November last year.

According to SIAM, light commercial vehicle sales grew 9.55 per cent to 43,969 units in November 2012 from 40,135 units in November 2011. In the three-wheeler category, sales went up by 20.67 per cent to 51,670 units from 42,821 units in the same month last year.

More In: Economy | Business