Commercial vehicles sales on the uptrend in February (Roundup)

Chennai/New Delhi/Bengaluru, March 1 (IANS) Indian automobile makers were cheerful on Tuesday as they reported higher sales numbers last month, a day after union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley deflated their enthusiasm proposing hike in tax rates.

As a pointer to the general economic growth, commercial vehicle makers like Ashok Leyland, Tata Motors, VE Commercial Vehicles Ltd and Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd (M&M) logged higher sales numbers last month as compared to the number of units sold in February 2015.

In the passenger cars segment, all the major players posted higher sales numbers barring industry leader Maruti Suzuki as its production was affected due to the Jat agitation in Haryana.

“The bright spot in the overall vehicles sales continues to be commercial vehicles due to replacement demand and also because fleet operators are buying ahead of stringent BS IV norms which will be applicable from April 1, 2017,” said Abdul Majeed, partner – Price Waterhouse and an automobile sector expert.

According to him, the gloom in the rural economy continues to impact sales of two wheelers and small car sales segment.

Tata Motors reported sales growth in the medium and heavy commercial vehicle (MHCV) segment. The sub-segment’s sales stood higher by 22 percent to 14,872 units during February 2016.

Similarly, sales of light and small commercial vehicle (LCV) rose by 10 percent to 15,698 units.

The overall commercial vehicles sales for the month under review increased by 15 percent to 30,570 units, as compared to 26,555 units during the like month of 2015.

“This (overall commercial vehicles sales) significant increase, has been enabled by the growth in LCVs, supplementing the already prevailing MHCV growth,” the company said in a statement.

Ashok Leyland sold 13,403 units last month up from 10,762 units sold in February 2015.

Similarly VE Commercial Vehicles increased its volumes by 57.3 percent last month over February 2015, selling 5,032 units.

On its part, M&M sold 13,864 units of commercial vehicles up from 11,945 units sold during the previous year’s corresponding period.

“At Mahindra we are happy to have achieved an overall growth of 16 percent during February, 2016 on the back of strong performance by our range of passenger and commercial vehicles,” Pravin Shah, president and chief executive (automotive), M&M was quoted as saying in a statement.

The company sold an overall 44,002 units, during the month under review from an off-take of 38,030 units during the corresponding period of last year.

Sales of passenger vehicles (which comprise utility vehicles, cars and vans) rose by 26 percent to 23,718 units from 18,817 units during the like month of last year.

However the country’s largest car maker Maruti Suzuki reported a marginal decline of 0.9 percent in its total sales for February 2016 at 117,451 units.

“During the month, the reservation agitation had disrupted component supplies, causing a temporary suspension of production by the company,” the company said in a statement.

“Total production loss due to this was over 10,000 units,” the statement added.

Hyundai Motor India Ltd sold 40,716 units in the domestic market, up from 37,305 units sold in February 2015.

Ford India saw a decline in its domestic sales to 5,483 units, the combined domestic wholesales and exports grew to 16,823 units up from 12,576 units in the corresponding month last year.

On its part Tata Motors reported a 20 percent decline in its passenger vehicle sales at 10,962 units last month though its overall sales went up to 46,674 units last month.

While Honda Cars India increased its sales to 13,020 units, Toyota Kirloskar reported a lower sales at 11,215 units last month.

In the two wheeler segment Hero MotoCorp grew its sales by 13.6 percent last month at 5,50,992 units while Eicher Motors sold 49,156 units.

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