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Excise duty hike pushes auto sales up in March (Roundup)

New Delhi,Business/Economy, Mon, 02 Apr 2012 IANS

New Delhi/Chennai, April 2 (IANS) The Indian automobile sector Monday reported healthy sales numbers for March as customers rushed to buy vehicles ahead of a price hike after the government raised the excise duty. The continuing demand for diesel cars and new models also boosted the offtake.


Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee in the budget for fiscal 2012-13 proposed to raise excise duty from 22 percent to 24 percent on petrol cars with engine capacity of under 1,200 cc and diesel cars with engine capacity under 1,500 cc whose length exceeds four metres.



'We could meet our expectations in March as there was considerable interest to beat the expected price hike,' said Arvind Saxena, director, marketing and sales, Hyundai Motor India.



Passenger car market leader Maruti Suzuki's total sales in the period under review grew by 3.3 percent at 125,952 units from 121,952 units in the like period of 2011.



Domestic sales picked up at 2.1 percent at 112,724 units from 110,424 units in the corresponding period of the last fiscal. The total passenger car sales in the period under review rose by 3.5 percent at 98,758 units from 95,388 units sold in March 2011.



However, for fiscal 2011-12, the company's total sales including exports fell by 10.8 percent at 1,133,695 units from 1,271,005 units in the last fiscal due to labour unrest, sluggish petrol car market condition and slower demand due to high cost of credit.



The country's second largest passenger vehicle manufacturer Hyundai Motor India too reported robust sales figures with an increase of 6.6 percent in its monthly sales for March including exports which stood at 59,229 units from 55,552 units sold in the like period of last year.



The company reported a healthy rise of 22.9 in its domestic sales in the period under review at 39,122 units from 31,822 units sold in the corresponding perod of last year.



Other automobile majors such as Tata Motors and Mahindra and Mahindra (M&M) came out with healthy sales growth in last month with 20 percent and 25 percent increase in sales respectively.



Tata Motors' total sales including exports grew by 20 percent and touched 100,414 units over 83,363 units sold in March, 2011.



For the fiscal 2011-12 the company's cumulative sales rose by 13 percent at 906,768 units over 803,339 units sold in 2010-11.



M&M's total sales in March zoomed at 25 percent at 47,001 units from 37,522 units sold in the like period of 2011. The company also reported an increase of 28 percent in its total sales for last fiscal at 483,246 units from 377,063 units sold in 2010-11.



In the two-wheeler segment, Hero MotoCorp was the leader. The firm reported its highest ever sales in any financial year with a growth of 15.4 percent in 2011-12 at 62,35,205 units from 54,02,444 units sold in 2010-11.



The company also reported five lakh-plus sales last month by selling 528,290 units, an increase of 2.41 percent over 5,15,852 units in the corresponding month of 2011.



TVS Motor's March sales declined by 4.47 percent at 182,527 units from 191,081 units in a year ago period. However, the two and three-wheeler maker reported a seven percent increase in total sales for the last fiscal at 2,198,142 units over 2,046,541 units sold in 2010-11.



Other players like Suzuki Motorcycle reported a 28.5 percent increase in sales for March at 35,158 units from 27,361 units sold last year. Honda Motocycle and Scooters India's (HMSI) sales grew by 50 percent to 220,487 units from 147,301 units in the like period of last year.


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