New Delhi: Passenger car sales in India witnessed slowest growth during April in 10 years at 3.4 percent as customer sentiment remained low due to post-Budget price hikes and high interest rates, affecting the entry-level segment most.
According to figures released by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) on Thursday, domestic passenger car sales stood at 1,68,351 units in April 2012 compared to 1,62,813 units in the same month last year.
"The growth in last month was sober, it is the slowest for April in the last 10 years. The price hike that was done after the excise duty was raised in the Budget and high interest rates have affected consumers' sentiment," SIAM
Director General Vishnu Mathur told reporters here.
In April 2002, the auto industry had saw passenger car sales falling by 22 percent, he added.
"The volume-driven small car segment is the worst hit in April with just 0.68 percent rise. This segment is very price sensitive and slightest alterations impact it," Mathur said.
The market will take some time to absorb this price hike that has affected other sectors also.
In the Budget 2012-13, the government had hiked excise duty by 2 percentage points to 12 percent that every automobile manufacturers passed on to customers. Besides, different duties were raised depending upon the vehicles' engine and size specifications.
Total sales of vehicles across categories registered an increase of 10.01 percent to 14,72,385 units in April as against 13,38,430 units in the same month last year.
"Overall growth in the industry was subdued. The first six months are going to be tough because if we expect any industry-friendly monetary policy, then it will happen in the second half only," Mathur said.
In the passenger car segment, market leader Maruti Suzuki's sales dipped by 1.31 percent to 72,939 units.    

However, rival Hyundai Motor India's sales increased by 10.75 percent to 35,000 units.
Homegrown auto major Tata Motors' passenger car sales were down by 4.78 percent at 18,610 units.
Total two-wheeler sales last month increased by 10.94 percent to 11,57,108 units from 10,43,010 units in April 2011.
According to the SIAM data, motorcycle sales in the country grew 6.54 percent during the month to 8,61,602 units from 8,08,728 units in the same month last year.

In this segment, market leader Hero MotoCorp posted 5.53 percent jump in sales to 4,94,473 units in April. Rival Bajaj Auto's sales went up by 2.17 percent to 2,00,228 units during the month.
Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India (HMSI) posted a 35.69 percent increase in sales to 77,665 units, while TVS Motor moved 50,863 units, 2.13 percent more than the corresponding month of the previous year.
SIAM said the scooter segment's overall sales grew by 30.29 percent to 2,27,924 units from 1,74,931 units.
HMSI's scooter sales grew by 55.64 percent to 1,15,846 units, while Hero MotoCorp sold 40,354 units, up 15.44 percent. TVS Motor's sales saw marginal growth during the month to 32,736 units.
Commercial vehicles sales grew by 4.37 percent to 56,257 units in the reported month from 53,903 units in the year-ago period, SIAM said.
Medium and Heavy Commercial Vehicle sales declined 11.60 percent to 19,914 units during the month compared to 22,528 units in April last year.
According to SIAM, light commercial vehicle sales grew 15.83 percent to 36,343 units in April 2012 from 31,375 units in April 2011.
In the three-wheeler category, sales fell by 5.35 percent to 31,986 units from 33,793 units in the same month year.


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