Car sales in India grew at their fastest pace in 22 months in October from a low base a year ago, helped by festive season demand that offset high ownership costs, but the industry remains cautious about the future.
Consumers tend to make big-ticket purchases in the festive season that began in September and peaks in November after the Hindu festival of lights and carmakers have said they expected sales to pick up during the period.
Automakers sold 172,459 cars in October, up 23.1 per cent from a year earlier, the first rise in three months, according to data released by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers.
Sales of motorcycles rose 6.7 per cent to 936,122 vehicles from 877,270 units sold in the corresponding period of 2011.
According to SIAM, sales of commercial vehicles like Truck and bus last month rose 7.59 per cent to 66,722 units from 62,013 units sold in October 2011.
Two-wheeler sales during the period under review grew by 12.26 per cent at 1,285,015 units from 1,144,716 sold in the corresponding month of 2011.
Scooter sales during last month zoomed by 32.39 percent at 279,427 units from 211,068 units sold in October 2011.
Three-wheeler segment sales increased by 12.58 per cent at 55,241 units in the month under review.
Total vehicles sales last month stood at 1,653,703 units, up 14.81 percent from 1,440,409 units sold in the like period of 2011-12.
“There is some cheer, but the struggle is still on,” said Vishnu Mathur, director-general of the industry body, adding that a “very low base” also helped the growth.
“Next month will be quite critical for us. We’ll have to see whether this growth is continuing or it is coming down.”
SIAM had slashed its estimates last month for car sales in the current fiscal year, expecting them to grow just 1 percent to 3 percent.
High interest rates and rising fuel costs have deterred Indian buyers, typically reliant on loans for purchases.