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article imageHonda bucks a downward trend in Indian car sales for October

By Nicole Weddington     Nov 2, 2014 in Business
Until this year, October has been one of the best months for car sales in India. Sales dropped nationwide, with nine of India’s automobile manufacturers reporting a combined drop of 4 percent in volume.
Sales had been growing steadily since a disastrous April, this year, when combined sales fell 9.5 percent. The exception to the bad news was Honda Cars India, which posted an 18.8 percent increase in October sales.
Maruta Suzuki India, Hyundai and Mahindra did not have significant growth during the month. While Mahindra & Mahindra, Toyota Kirloskar and Ford all had declining sales compared to the same period of the previous year.
Maruta Suzuki blamed the lack of sales growth on the festival season. In a statement to the Economic Times, the company said, “Owing to festivals and state elections, during October 2014 Maruti Suzuki had 19 working days. This limited the availability of vehicles during the month. In October 2013 Maruti Suzuki had 24 working days.”
The company did emphasize that retail sales in October were 10 percent higher than in the same month last year and higher than in September due to a thriving second-hand market where consumers can use a free VIN check to make sure they are buying a legitimate car.
“The situation is not as bright as many had hoped for. Maruti Suzuki has had better growth (14.7 per cent) in the first half of the year, but the industry as a whole is not doing good. Without us, the industry's growth will be in the negative territory,” said R. C. Bhargava, chairman of Maruti Suzuki in a statement. “For the full financial year, we are expecting over 10 per cent sales growth, but in the second half the growth rate in terms of percentage will be slower than in the first half, as the base was higher in the second half last year.”
Three new car launches helped Honda Cars India maintain their sales growth. 2,985 Mobilio, 3,482 Amaze and 5,120 City units helped the company grow by almost 19 percent during the month. Jnaneswar Sen, senior vice-president of marketing and sales, told the Business Standard,
“We have clocked excellent sales during the year so far where all our products have received tremendous response. Starting November, the Tapukara plant will start operations in the second shift, thereby ensuring better availability of the Honda City. This will also see full capacity utilization of the Tapukara plant.”
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