Rising sales cheer auto industry

Car sales were up 19.7 per cent in March, a fifth straight monthly increase, but climbing on 2.2 per cent in the full fiscal 2012 as buyers kept away due to high interest rates and rising fuel costs in the first half of the year.

The growth is the slowest since the fiscal year 2008-09, when sales were up only 1.4 per cent, impacted by the global financial crisis. Sales shot up 25 per cent in 2009-10 and 29 per cent in 2010-11 chalking up a  total in fiscal 2011-12 at 2.02 million cars.

According to Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (Siam), though car sales would likely pick up this fiscal and may record double-digit growth at 10-12 per cent,

Manufacturers sold 229,866 cars in March while the figure was 1,92,105 units in the same month of the last year.

S Sandilya, Siam president said, this was the first time the car sales in the country crossed the 2 million units mark. He added, the sales were helped by a late surge in the last quarter of the fiscal, especially in March, as buyers advanced purchases ahead of the budget.

Sales of trucks and buses increased 14.8 per cent in March and an overall 18.2 per cent in 2011-12, and according to Siam they are expected to grow 9-11 per cent this fiscal.