Car sales in India jumped to a record in February as customers rushed to buy vehicles fearing rise in prices post the Union Budget, to be presented this week.

Local car sales rose 13 percent last month to 2,11,402 units compared to 1,86,890 units in the same month last year.

Sales of trucks and buses, a key indicator of economic activity, rose 18.7 percent in February from a year previous to 76,891 vehicles, SIAM said. Motorcycle sales rose 8 percent to 838,193 vehicles.
India unveils its annual budget on Friday, with carmakers anxiously watching for a possible increase in excise duty and a tax on diesel cars or the fuel, which is currently around 50 per cent cheaper than petrol due to government subsidies.

“People are expecting increase in car prices after the Budget as the government may roll back two per cent excise concession given as stimulus during the 2008-9 slowdown,” SIAM Director General Vishnu Mathur told reporters.

During February, the country’s largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki India sold 94,118 vehicles, a jump of 7.13 per cent, over the same period last year.

Rival Hyundai Motor India’s sales grew by 12.78 per cent to 36,658 units, while Tata Motors’ sales increased by 5.46 per cent to 28,236 units.

Tata Motors recorded a 5.5% growth to 28,236 cars, while sales at Toyota’s local unit more than doubled to 9,023 cars.

Total sales so far in the fiscal year that ends in March stand at 1.8 million, up 0.3% from the same period a year previous. Sales fell 16% in July and slumped 24% in October, the biggest fall in more than a decade.


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