Car sales in India posted their strongest April in at least a decade, jumping by an annual 39.5 per cent. This is seen as a clear indication that consumer demand in one of the world's fastest growing markets remains robust despite a rise in prices.
Vishnu Mathur, newly appointed director general of the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), said sales were likely to be sustained in a rapidly growing economy with easy availability of finance and improved consumer sentiment.
Buyers are usually subdued in April after bunched purchases at the close of the financial year in March to take advantage of tax breaks on depreciation. But this fear has proved unfounded this year, despite concerns in the industry over rising costs of raw materials such as pig iron and steel, and price increases to account for new emission standards.
In April, Maruti Suzuki, India's largest car maker and a unit of Suzuki Motor Corp, and utility vehicle leader Mahindra & Mahindra raised prices, citing higher costs from Euro IV emission norms.
"There is an upward pressure in the prices of commodities. We have to watch that very, very carefully," Mathur told reporters.
Domestic car sales were 143,976 in April, up from 103,227 in the same month last year, SIAM data showed, led by Maruti Suzuki which sold 80,034 units. It was the biggest rise in sales since April 1999 when they rose an annual 50.3 percent, Mathur said.