Car sales zoom 31% in July

Car sales jumped 31% in July, showing growth for the sixth straight month, riding on new models and easier retail financing.Led by higher demand for models of companies like Maruti and Hyundai, total car sales in the month stood at 11,5067 units as against 87,901 units in July last year, data released by Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (Siam) showed. New models like Maruti Ritz, Fiat Punto, Hyundai i20 and Honda Jazz are likely to keep the momentum ticking, even as some analysts expressed concern over the impact of a weak monsoon. In the utility vehicle space, Mahindra & Mahindra kept the numbers healthy as its sales grew over 70% on the back of demand for its new multi-utility vehicle Xylo. Analysts said apart from new models, easier lending facilities offered by banks have also contributed to sales growth. Stimulus packages, including tax cuts, announced by the government some months back also helped maintain tempo. Siam director general Dilip Chenoy said a low base of last year was also helping realise a higher growth rate. “It is the low base effect which is kicking in... Besides, the festive season is early this year, because of which the dispatches (from factories to dealerships) are high,’’ he said. Vehicle sales usually peak in October-December because of a host of festivals. This year, the festivals will start from late September, prompting dealerships to increase stocks early. Two-wheeler sales also remained robust, growing by 20%, mainly led by market leader Hero Honda. Total two-wheeler sales in July stood at 7.2 lakh units, showing a growth of 20% over 5.9 lakh in July 2008, Siam said. Of this, motorcycle sales gained 19.5% at 5.46 lakh units against 4.57 lakh units in the corresponding month last year, helped by robust demand in rural markets and revival of urban markets. Sales of scooters rose 24% to 1.23 lakh units in July, with Hero Honda, Honda Motorcycle and TVS posting higher growth. Sale of commercial vehicles also registered a growth of 9.5% at 37,624 units against 34,325 units in July last year. This was led by a 28% rise in demand for light commercial vehicles, mainly of Tata Motors’ mini truck Ace. Sales of medium and heavy trucks and buses, however, fell 8% to 16,138 vehicles as Tata Motors and Ashok Leyland—the top two manufacturers—posted lower growth.

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