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Auto cos report marginal rise in Feb sales

Mumbai: New model launches helped automobile sales in February rise a little over the year-ago period, according to monthly data released by companies on March 1.

Cumulative sales of India’s top passenger vehicle makers — Maruti Suzuki, Mahindra and Mahindra, Tata Motors, Honda Cars, and Toyota Kirloskar — increased to 206,418 units in February over 200,322 units in the same month last year.

 

This is an increase of 3 per cent. Hyundai Motor had not released sales figures till the time of going to press.

Weak sentiments would have hit sales if it were not for new launches. Automobile firms in India count dispatches to dealers as sales.

Dispatches at Maruti Suzuki India remained muted during the month.

The car market leader that sells one in every two passenger vehicles in the country dispatched 136,912 units — only marginally up over the 136,648 unit it did in the same period last year.

The overall volumes at the local arm of the Japanese carmaker were dragged down by the mini and compact car models.

Cumulative sales of these models — Wagon R, Swift, Baleno, Celerio among others — dropped 1.6 per cent to 97,429 units over the same month last year.

Starting February, Maruti has reclassified the new WagonR under the compact car segment owing to its increased length and bigger engine. It was earlier in the mini car segment.

A recent research report by Motilal Oswal pointed out that sales trend during the month was mixed, as demand continued to remain weak in west and central India. It was relatively better in the south.

Key markets such as Maharashtra, Gujarat, Delhi and Madhya Pradesh continued to see a decline in retail.

Maruti has average inventory levels of 15-20 days, while it is higher for Mahindra and Mahindra at an average 25-30 days, the report said.