December offers fail to cheer auto cos as sales fall up to 50%

In a year marked by high interest rates, surging fuel prices and a slowdown in economic growth, major auto companies, including Hyundai Motor India, General Motors, Toyota Kirloskar Motor and Tata Motors, saw passenger car sales fall in the range of 10-50% in December.

Tata Motors' passenger vehicles sales fell over 50% in December 2012 to 14,185 units compared with 28,916 units a year ago. Sales of the Nano, Indica and Indigo combined were 11,257 units while that of the Sumo, Safari, Aria and Venture together were 2,928 units. The company did not provide a further break-up of the sales figures.

While Maruti Suzuki did not announce sales numbers till late evening, Hyundai Motor India saw its domestic car sales fall by 10% to 26,697 units in December 2012 against 29,516 units in the corresponding month last year.

Toyota Kirloskar Motor's domestic car sales fell 24% for December. It sold 12,071 units in December 2012 compared with 15,948 units in the corresponding month in 2011.

GM India, on the other hand, saw its domestic car sales decline by 22% to 7,067 units in December, 2012 over 9,039 units sold in the same month of 2011. In a statement, GM said the fall was despite it running offers on sales.

"The market continues to remain depressed on account of various negative factors, including high interest rates and poor economic conditions," said P Balendran, vice-president, GM India.

Automobile makers are now pinning hope on the forthcoming Union Budget for some corrective measures to improve the economic environment. "The only hope now is on Union Budget. We hope it to address some of the concerns of the industry and announce some positive measures to bolster the economic recovery," Balendran said.

Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) registered an 18% growth domestically in its passenger vehicles segment (which includes the UVs and Verito) to 22,761 units in December, against 19,341 units during December 2011. It saw a flat growth in the sale of its commercial vehicles in the domestic market to 13,706 units in December over 13,757 units sold in December 2011. Mahindra Navistar Automotives saw a de-growth of 40% in its sales for December to 631 units, over 1,049 units sold in the same month last year.

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