The country's leading auto majors on Thursday reported a double digit surge in sales during February, indicating that the acceleration in the manufacturing sector during the October-December quarter is likely to extend into the last quarter of the current fiscal ending on March 31. India has regained the status of the fastest growing economy, surpassing China during the October-December quarter fuelled a better performance of the industry, services and farms sectors. With the infrastructure sectors including steel, cement and power throwing up a better performance in January and sharp increase in auto sales during February, the economic growth during the last quarter of 2017-18 appears to be on track.
Maruti Suzuki India (MSI), the biggest carmaker in the country, registered a 14.2 per cent increase in domestic sales at 1,37,900 units in February, propelled by the compact segment comprising Swift, Estilo, Dzire and Baleno. Sales of its SUVs including Gypsy, Grand Vitara, Ertiga, S-Cross and Vitara Brezza increased 13.8 per cent to 20,324 units from 17,863 units. SUV manufacturer Mahindra & Mahindra posted a 20 per cent rise in sales to 48,473 units during the month up from 40,526 units in the year-ago period.
Hyundai Motor India Ltd. (HMIL), the country's second largest car manufacturer, registered domestic sales of 44,505 units which represents a 5.1 per cent increase over the same month last year. The company recorded higher sales of the new Elite i20, Next Gen Verna and SUV Creta. Ford India reported an 8.43 per cent increase in domestic sales to 9,041 units. Japanese auto major Toyota reported a 3 per cent increase in domestic sales at 11,864 units in February.
The commercial vehicle segment which reflects the level of economic activity taking place in the country recorded an even stronger surge in sales. Tata Motors reported a 38 per cent jump in domestic sales at 58,993 units, led by strong sales in commercial and passenger vehicle segments. The company's domestic sales of commercial vehicles in the month grew 36 per cent to 41,222 units compared to 30,407 units in the year-ago period, fuelled by robust infrastructure developments, fresh tenders in car carriers, coal movement and the petroleum sector.
Likewise, Hinduja Group flagship Ashok Leyland recorded a 29 per cent increase in total sales at 18,181 units in February 2018. Commercial vehicle sales of Mahindra & Mahindra during the month jumped 28 per cent to 20,946 units. M&M president, Automotive Sector, Rajan Wadhera said: "This performance comes on the back of a sustained momentum and demand, both in the personal and commercial vehicle segments, which we believe will also continue in March."
In the two-wheeler segment, Hero MotoCorp reported a 20 per cent increase in sales at 6,29,597 units in February 2018. The company had sold 5,24,766 units in the corresponding month last year. Arch rival Bajaj Auto reported a 31 per cent jump in total sales at 3,57,883 units in February over the same month last year. Overall domestic sales increased 35 per cent to 2,14,023 units against 1,59,109 units in February last year, Bajaj Auto said in a statement. Similarly, Royal Enfield reported a 25 per cent growth in total sales at 73,077 units in February. The company had sold 58,439 units in February last year.