The domestic automobile industry started off financial year 2019 in style registering a strong 17.44 per cent growth in sales at 2379718 units in April, data compiled by industry body Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) showed. Sales during the same month last year were 2026373 units.
The growth was led by the commercial vehicle industry that posted a strong 75.95 per cent jump in sales at 72,993 units albeit on a low base of April 2017. Heavy trucks and buses saw an unprecedented 169 per cent growth at 28,547 units while light commercial vehicles grew by 43.92 per cent at 44,446 units.
Last year, the segment was hit by a massive disruption at the fag-end of March as the Supreme Court verdict that prohibited sale of BS III vehicles across the country after March 31. This led to manufacturers scrambling to liquidate stocks with massive discounts and the advancement of sales in March resulted in a poor April.
Two-wheelers that account for the bulk of automobile sales in the country also started off strongly with a near 17 per cent growth. A total of 1,958,241 units were sold in the country in April against 1,674,787 units last year. The strong showing was on the back of continued high demand for motorcycles that outgrew scooters yet again with a 19.38 per cent growth at 1,229,526 units. Scooters that have made a strong rebound over the last decade, grew at a more benign 12.63 per cent at 661,007 units.
"In April 2017, sales were down due to pre buying experienced post the transition to BS IV emission norms," said Sugato Sen, deputy director general of SIAM. "Hence the commercial vehicle, two-wheeler and three-wheeler segment were impacted during that month and have grown over the low base of last year."
In the passenger vehicle segment, the popularity of sports utility vehicles continued unabated with UVs posting 11.92 per cent growth against cars that grew at just 4.89 per cent. Sale of UVs during the month stood at 79,136 units while 200,183 cars were sold across the country during the month. Overall, passenger vehicle sales grew by 7.5 per cent at 298,504 units.
Exports also registered a robust 24.21 per cent growth at 400,855 units with a 27 per cent growth in two wheeler exports more than offsetting a 16 per cent decline in export of cars from the country.