Car sales back on the growth path in February

The passenger vehicles market, which has been hit by the government's demonetisation drive over the past few months, is back on the growth path with sales rising in February for almost all major automakers.

Maruti Suzuki, Renault and Hyundai continued to strengthen their market shares, while Ford posted more exports in the last month.

The sales were mostly driven by a positive buyers' sentiment and the desire to buy ahead of the likely price rise in the new fiscal.

The country's market leader in passenger cars, Maruti Suzuki India (MSIL) on Wednesday said it sold 1,20,599 units of passenger vehicles in the domestic market in February.

This is 11.5 per cent higher than the 1,08,115 units it sold in February last year, a company release said.

The sales were led by the compact segment (Swift, Celerio, Baleno, Dzire) in terms of volumes and the company recorded a growth of 9.4 per cent to 47,002 units in February compared with 42,970 units in the corresponding month last year.

The latest entrant, Ignis, which falls in the same segment, had good initial numbers to boost sales.

MSIL's mid-size sedan, Ciaz, also reported 14-per cent growth in sales year-on-year at 5,886 units last month as against 5,162 units in February 2016.

In the utility vehicle segment (Ertiga, S-Cross and Vitara Brezza), the company recorded more than double the sales at 17,863 units in February as compared with 8,484 units in the corresponding month last year.

However, its mini segment (Alto, WagonR) recorded a decline in sales by around 7 per cent to 33,079 units in February compared with 35,495 units in the same month last year.

The company sold 136 units of its 'Super Carry' light commercial vehicle during the month.

Hyundai Motor India Ltd (HMIL), the second-largest passenger car manufacturer, reported domestic sales of 42,327 units during the month, up four per cent compared with 40,716 units sold in February 2016.

''Hyundai, with an all-time highest ever sales of 9,002 units of the SUV-Creta, had a domestic all models volume of 42,327 with a growth of 4 per cent with increased customer visits and conversions on the strength of improved customer confidence generated by the Budget positively impacting the customer disposable income and overall business sentiments," Rakesh Srivastava, senior vice president, sales and marketing, HMIL, said.