Car sales in February showed unusually strong growth for recent times, as customers rushed to make their purchases – especially of diesel cars – before the proposals of the upcoming budget kick in.
The finance minister is expected to propose a hike in excise duty on diesel vehicles when he unveils the budget on 16 March.
Ten of the country's 19 major manufacturers recorded a growth of 12 per cent. Total car sales in February were 250,545 units, compared to 223,186 units in the corresponding period last year. This is the highest growth rate recorded since April 2011, when car sales had risen by 14 per cent.
Automakers with strong diesel portfolios - Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai Motors and Tata Motors - reported strong numbers.
Domestic sales of Maruti Suzuki, which sells every second car in the country, rose 6 per cent year on year at 107,653 units. This was mainly fuelled by the of the Swift and Dzire models, which rose 31 per cent and 58 per cent respectively.
The companies had together sold 223,186 units in the corresponding period last year. This is the highest growth rate recorded since April 2011, when sales had risen by 14 per cent.