Motown: February 2018

India’s vehicle sales maintained their upward momentum in February, backing up the revival story in the world’s fastest-growing economy. Auto makers reported steady growth with new models such as the Maruti Suzuki Swift, Hyundai Verna and Tata Nexon pushing up sales numbers.

Experts said the trajectory is likely to stay positive through to the end of 2018 with the effects of demonetisation and GST implementation having worn off. Commercial vehicles and tractors also made a strong showing, with the Budget having pledged greater support for farmers.

The country’s biggest carmaker Maruti Suzuki India reported a growth of 13.3% to 136,648 units from the year earlier. While sales of mini cars (Alto, WagonR) rose 2.1% to 33,789 units, those of compacts (Swift, Baleno, Ignis, Celerio, DZire, Tour S) surged 38.7% to 65,213 units. Demand for midsize sedan Ciaz continued to slide and dropped by 16.8% to 4,897 units.

However, utility vehicles (Ertiga, S-Cross, Vitara Brezza) sustained their growth momentum — sales rose 13.8% to 20,324 units. Maruti Suzuki’s market share stood at 50.1% at the end of January 2018.

India’s GDP grew 7.2% in the third quarter, surpassing expectations and regaining its status of fastest-growing economy from China on the back of a rebound in industrial activity, an expansion in agriculture and a rise in investment.

The FY18 growth projection was revised marginally upward to 6.6% from 6.5% estimated earlier.

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