The Indian automobile industry today reported 26.17 per cent growth in vehicle sales during 2010-11, mainly riding on the back of robust economic growth, more focus on rural areas and new model launches.

The Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), however, forecast a slowdown in the rate and predicted a 12-15 per cent growth in 2011-12.

It also said the Indian industry is expected overtake Brazil to become the sixth largest auto market in the world during this fiscal.

According to figures released by SIAM, total vehicles sales in India in FY’11 stood at 1,55,13,156 units compared to 1,22,95,397 units in the previous financial year.

“We have ended the year on a reasonably high note. We have reached a very, very strong base after a consistent good growth in the last six quarters,” SIAM President Pawan Goenka told reporters here.

He said a variety of factors, including good GDP growth, higher spending on infrastructure development, strong consumer confidence, government’s focus on rural areas, moderate price hike by the auto makers despite steep rise in commodity rates and introduction of new models, helped the industry register the gains in the last fiscal.

There were 24 new launches in the passenger vehicles segment last fiscal. For the two-wheelers, it was 16. Besides, the passenger vehicle and two-wheeler industries saw 40 and 7 refreshed versions respectively, Mr. Goenka said.

Talking about the outlook for 2011-12, Mr. Goenka said: “We expect the growth for the industry to moderate and settle down at around 12-15 per cent this year.”

“This year, we hope to overtake Brazil and become the number 6 automobile market in the world,” he added.

In the financial year 2009-10, the domestic auto sales were driven equally by all the segments. The passenger car sales rose by 29.73 per cent to 19,82,702 units from 15,28,337 units in the April-March period of the earlier fiscal.

Market leader Maruti Suzuki’s sales during last fiscal jumped by 26.24 per cent at 9,66,447 units, while its rival Hyundai Motor’s sales increased by 13.95 per cent to 3,58,904 units. Tata Motors witnessed a rise of 27.21 per cent at 2,56,202 units, SIAM said.

Total two-wheeler sales in FY’11 also increased by 25.82 per cent at 1,17,90,305 units compared to 93,70,951 units in FY’10, it added.

Motorcycle sales in the country during 2010-11 were up 22.86 per cent at 90,19,090 units as against 73,41,122 units in 2009-10.

The country’s largest bike maker Hero Honda’s sales rose by 14.73 per cent at 49,26,390 units. Bajaj Auto saw its sales climbing by 35.52 per cent to 24,14,603 units in FY’11.

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