Boosted by new launches and year-end discounts, car sales rose for the 14th straight month in December to 172,671 units, a by 13 per cent jump over the previous year, as per the data released by the industry body Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (Siam) on Monday.
The cumulative passenger vehicle sales including vans and utility vehicles grew 10.46 per cent to 230,960 units, after the industry posted an almost similar 10.39 per cent growth during the festival period of Dusshera, Dhanteras and Diwali in November.
Commenting on the auto industry, Abdul Majeed, Partner, Price Waterhouse, said that the different segments' vehicle sales growth trend continued in December 2015. "The auto industry closed the year with good growth in passenger cars, commercial vehicles as well as scooters. However, passenger vehicles sales growth in January to March quarter will be lower than the demand generated during the festive season. Also, people will gradually shift from diesel vehicles to petrol vehicles because of a lot of uncertainties in diesel regulation, and also diesel vehicles may cost more with increased tax burden in future."
A SIAM executive said that the growth was largely fuelled by positive urban customer sentiments and gradual uptick in the economy. SIAM Deputy Director General Sugato Sen said: "We have witnessed some positive indicators that have supported growth like softening oil prices and interest rates, excitement from new launches and a strong replacement demand in commercial vehicles. However, the slowing rural markets still remain a cause of concern for the industry."
Sales of motorcycles, which are directly impacted by rural demand, fell 6 per cent in December over the previous year to 724,807 units. The large volume dip in motorcycles impacted the entire automotive market that posted 0.17 per cent decline to 1.5 million vehicles sold in the market.
Scooters remained buoyant and grew 3 per cent to 386,305 units while commercial vehicles grew 11.45 per cent to 56,840 units last month.