Festive buying pushes car sales to record high
Till midnight on Dhanteras, car buyers shopped like they hadn't in a long time, bringing much-need cheer to the auto industry this festive season. It was indeed a Super Sunday for automakers as buyers thronged dealerships across India, particularly those in the north and central regions, helping the industry record its highest retail business for any single day in the festive season in the past two years.
Figures made available from carmakers on Monday reveal that automakers have bypassed their sales targets and posted on an average 20-25% higher deliveries over the previous year's Dhanteras.
India's largest carmaker, Maruti Suzuki, made a smart bounce-back on the back of demand for the new Alto 800 and renewed interest in the Swift hatchback and DZire sub-compact sedan. "We have retailed over 10,000 cars on Dhanteras," said Mayank Pareek, Maruti's chief operating officer (marketing & sales). Maruti's deliveries have increased 19% this festive season over a year ago, thanks in the main to Sunday's buying frenzy.
Driven by the twin engines of attractive discounts and new launches, manufacturers were also encouraged by the return of interest in petrol models; if growth has been sluggish in the past nine months, it's been thanks largely to the absence of any enthusiasm for petrol-powered vehicles.
"There is a renewed customer interest in petrol models of the i10, Santro and i20 while demand for diesel cars is still going strong. We are hopeful that this positive sentiment continues even after the festive season of Diwali," says Rakesh Srivastava, Hyundai's senior vice-president (marketing & sales). The South Korean carmaker has so far posted an 11% growth this festive season over a year ago.
Steady Build-up in Consumer Interest
"In this festive season, customer interest has improved and demand mirrors the sales seen in earlier years (pre-slowdown)," added Hyundai's Srivastava.
Carmakers also point out that there has been a steady build-up in consumer interest since the festive season kicked off with the Navratras last month - that explains the 33% spiral in passenger car sales in October, fuelled by a burst of 87% in dispatches of utility vehicles from factories over the same month in 2011.