EXCISE duty cuts by the government could not lift automobile sales for the second consecutive month with the domestic sales registering a decline of 5.9 per cent at 1,63,070 units in April.
Finance minister P Chidambaram had announced to cut excise duty on small cars and bikes to 8 per cent from existing 12 per cent in the Interim Budget in February.
The country’s largest car maker Maruti Suzuki India said domestic sales for the month dropped by 12.6 per cent. The company sold 79,119 units last month as compared to 90,523 sold in the corresponding period last fiscal.
Sales fell across categories. While sales of Alto and WagonR declined by 25.4 per cent to 26,043 units, that of sedan DZire fell by 17.7 per cent to 16,008 units and of SX4 by a steep 87.4 per cent to 76 units.
The premium hatchback category registered positive traction growing by 9.9 per cent to 23,659 units due to introduction of the new Celerio.
While Maruti Suzuki India registered a decline, Hyundai Motor India registered 8.8 per cent increase in sales during the month primarily on the back of its new models — Grandi10, sub-4 metre sedan Xcent and SUV Santa Fe. “Growth is led by sedan and utility vehicles across geographies, with new products Xcent, Grand and Santa Fe, adding volumes,” said Rakesh Srivastava, senior vice-president (sales and marketing) at Hyundai Motors India.
Ford India and Honda Cars India, too, registered an increase of 66.2 and 30 per cent, respectively, on the back of new model launches.
Companies registering increase in sales, though, remain cautious about the future. “In the run up to the formation of the next government, we remain cautious and watchful in anticipation of progressive policy interventions to energise the Indian automotive sector,” said Vinay Piparsania, executive director -marketing, sales and service, Ford India.
Others feel that the sentiments will improve after the General Elections.