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In top gear: Two-wheelers perk up February auto sales, says Siam

Ajay Modi/New Delhi 12 Mar 18 | 10:39 PM

The domestic automobile market reported an unusual development in February this year, when motorcycles outperformed scooters in terms of volume growth, expanding overall automobile sales by 23 per cent.

Motorcycle and scooter sales grew by 26 and 24 per cent, respectively, last month. 

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This is in sharp contrast to the situation in February 2017, when motorcycles, which comprise 62 per cent of the two-wheeler industry by volume, had faced a decline in sales.   

Data released by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) on Monday showed that sales of domestic passenger vehicles (PVs) — cars, utility vehicles and vans — grew by 7.77 per cent last month, lower than the cumulative growth of 8.04 per cent during the April-February period of the current financial year.

Growth last month was fuelled by a 22 per cent hike in sales of utility vehicles (UVs). Around 80,254 UVs were sold last month, compared to 65,877 UVs in February 2017. Car sales grew 3.7 per cent to 179,122 vehicles.

“All segments, including PVs and two-wheelers, have been growing. The only exception is heavy buses, and this is a concern for us," said Vishnu Mathur, director-general of Siam. Mathur observed that PVs would achieve around 9 per cent growth in the current financial year while others, including two-wheelers and commercial vehicles, would perform better than expected, crossing the estimated numbers. Medium and heavy commercial vehicles (M&HCVs), and light commercial vehicles (LCVs) have clocked a double-digit growth in the first eleven months of 2017-18.

Source: SIAM

M&HCV sales grew by 12 per cent to 294,553 vehicles in the April-February period. In February alone, sales expanded by 23 per cent to 37,552 vehicles. LCVs have clocked cumulative growth of over 24 per cent this year to 453,221 vehicles and, in February, the figure touched 50,225.

“In the two-wheeler segment, with motorcycles doing well, we except production to touch 23 million and sales crossing the 20 million-mark this year," said Sugato Sen, deputy director general at Siam, said.

Two-wheelers account for over 80 per cent of the auto-mobile industry's volume and its performance has a direct bearing on sectoral growth.

It has been a productive year for three-wheelers as well, with its cumulative growth of over 19 per cent to 563,233. The segment's February figure stood at 62,463 vehicles.

Sridhar V, Partner, Grant Thornton India, said the performance of the automobile industry, across vehicle categories, in February 2018 had been strong and in line with the growth trajectory of first 10 months.

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