September sales: Indian car market rises for second month image

India’s suffering car industry enjoyed slightly increased sales in September, buoyed for the second successive month by the mounting demand triggered by last year’s production stoppage at Maruti Suzuki, the country’s largest carmaker by sales.

According to numbers coming from the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers, monthly car sales went up a hair to a total of 156,018 vehicles, an almost unnoticeable increase of 0.7% compared with the same period last year.

But rather than signaling a turnaround for the battered car sector, the rise was almost all because of the impact of a factory closure by Maruti, whose large Manesar facility near New Delhi reopened and restarted production at reduced capacity last September.

Sales of passenger vehicles – a wider segment which went on unaffected by the Maruti closure, because the plant produces only some types of vans and sport utility vehicles – actually went down by more than 4% year on year, reflecting the overall weak consumer demand in the face of India’s economic slump.

Manufacturers in the automotive industry and their suppliers think the month of October could come up with a larger and more sustained sales growth, moving to offer a broad range of big discounts to lure customers during the country’s annual season of Hindu religious festivals, which are considered a good time to buy new cars.

Via Financial Times