The transport sector is, perhaps, the only one that has been largely remained unaffected due to the global recession.

Automobile dealers say that the going is good with buyers taking advantage of easy finance options by both nationalised and private banks.

Contrary to the normal annual average growth rate of 15 per cent, the registration of new vehicles has recorded negative growth last year.

While 5,111 new cars were registered in the city during the 2007-08 fiscal, last year (2008-09) it has fell to 4,930. Similarly, the registration of new motorcycles fell from 26,305 during 2007-08 to 25,985 during 2008-09.

The registration of heavy goods vehicles (new registrations) fell from 921 during 2007-08 to 597 during 2008-09.

Light goods vehicles registration also declined from 570 to 510 during the same period and luxury tourist cabs registration fell from 593 to 569.

These figures indicate that there was a decline in the registration of new vehicles under all categories.

“Though the fall may appear to be marginal in the case of motorcycles, one should note that there would have been a growth under normal circumstances,” says Deputy Transport Commissioner S. Venkateswara Rao.

Car dealers are, however, optimistic of a boom in sales in the coming months as the economy is slowly getting back to normal.

“Our overall sales averaging 140 cars (all models) a month is excellent to say the least.

The major chunk is taken by “i 10” followed by Santro. Our “i 20” is doing very well though there is limited supply at present.

It’s the only model on which we do not offer any discounts and it has a long waiting period,” says David Raj, Deputy General Manager (sales) of Lakshmi Hyundai.

“We have sold 300 plus cars in December but the figure came down to 125 in January. But, it’s picking up again. The hike in VAT and Life Tax has resulted in an increase of about Rs.20,000 even on small cars and on luxury cars like Verna it’s much higher,” he says. With Maruti Suzuki phasing out its entry-level Maruti 800 in Metros and announcing its plans to phase it out in cities like Visakhapatnam by 2016, Maruti customers are upgrading to Alto.

“Our total sales during the last four months average around 312 vehicles a month. The enquiries for M 800 are a mere 2 to 3 per cent and hence there isn’t much impact on our overall sales.

Alto now accounts for 31 per cent of the total sales,” says Yugandhar Madhav, General Manager (sales) of Varun Motors.

“Wagon R with 12 per cent of the total sales is also doing well. Though the response to ‘Ritz’ was lukewarm due to its unconventional styling, it has gained acceptance and it is now doing very well. Its European design, aerodynamic shape and more boot space is attracting customers,” he says.

Swift is the other model that is performing very well. Both the petrol and diesel variants and Swift Dzire have caught the fancy of buyers. “Our ‘Spark’, ranked no. 1 by JD Power Survey for the last three consecutive years, is performing very well. ‘Beat’ introduced last month has also caught the fancy of buyers. Our January sales this year has increased considerably compared to last year,” says Srinivas, Manager (sales) of Orange Automobiles.

“General Motors, which was in the 7th position in India during 2004-05, has attained the third place now. Easy finance options from major players like SBI, SBH, HDFC, Axis and ICICI have also contributed to the growth in sales.

Rio, the new compact SUV from Premier Automobiles, was launched at Madhav Motors recently.

“Easy manoeuvrability, large space and comparatively low prices compared to other SUV s have made it one of the most sought after vehicles,” says Kalyan Kumar Chowdary, proprietor of Madhav Motors, the dealers of Rio.

“Our Indica range including the recent addition Vista is evoking very good response. Our January sales, with over 110 vehicles, was very impressive. Though February was a little dull, it was mostly due to people waiting for auspicious occasions and the impact of increased taxes,” says S. Srinivas, Sales Manager of SRMT, authorised dealers of Tata Motors. “Our Indigo Manza is also doing very well in the premium segment. The proposed hike in excise duty may also draw more buyers,” he says.

In the fast lane

Apache 160 and 180 cc, from TVS Motors, have caught the fancy of youth who love to zoom ahead through the city traffic. Scooty is the hot favourite of women riders and TVS XL Super Heavy Duty are much sought after load carrying by traders and merchants. Paul Engineering Inc., Suryabagh, deals with automobile accessories like helmets. They are the authorised spares and service dealers of Royal Enfield.

They also deal with sales, service and spares of Sokhi Road Sweeping Machines.

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