Auto exports cross $1 billion in 2003-04

According to Jagdish Khattar, managing director, Maruti Udyog Ltd and president, Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), the automotive industry’s performance is closely linked to industrial growth, which during the year was around 7 per cent while agriculture output had increased by over 10 per cent.

He feels that the outlook for the year 2004-05 was promising since the current growth rates of GDP and industrial output appeared sustainable. This would ensure robust growth in the automotive sector, especially since India is the fourth largest economy (estimated at $2.5 trillion) after the US, Japan and China in terms of purchasing power parity.

Automobile Industry Performance during 2003 — 04
During 2003-04 the automobile industry registered a growth of around 16.5 per cent in sales and 24 per cent in value.

Segment-wise Performance
Passenger Vehicles
The excise duty reduction on passenger vehicles in the union budget 2003-04 has directly impacted the sales of passenger vehicles positively as it has reduced the acquisition cost to the customer. The cumulative passenger vehicle sales in the domestic market in April-March 2003-04 have grown by over 27 per cent over the same period last year. However, this is against relatively low and negative growth rates in the previous years.

Within the passenger vehicle segment, while passenger cars and utility vehicles have grown at 28.6 per cent and 27.6 per cent respectively, multi-purpose vehicles (MPVs) have grown at a lower rate of around 14.5 per cent. However, the growth of MPVs this year is significant as it was (-)15.7 per cent in the last year.

Commercial Vehicles
The commercial vehicle segment has grown by over 30 per cent in consecutive years. This year, it clocked a growth of 36.5 per cent. The medium and heavy commercial vehicles segment grew by 39.5 per cent whereas light commercial vehicles grew by 32 per cent.

With improved economic performance, especially in the agricultural sector, besides the expansion of national highways and expressways, has led to fleet rationalisation in and increased penetration of multi-axle vehicles. During the year, 1998-99 sale of multi-axle vehicles was 4,539, an increase of 67 per cent per annum over a five year period. The total share of multi-axle vehicles in the heavy vehicles category has grown barely 5 per cent to around 40 per cent.