Car sales slump continues despite festival spurt

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Automobile sales slumped by 17% in the first half of the financial year despite several steps taken by the government to support the sector. The Indian automakers sold 11.7 million vehicles (all categories) during April -September period, compared with 14.1 million vehicles in the corresponding period last year, the Rajya Sabha was informed on Monday. The industry showed signs of a revival with festive demand for passenger vehicles growing 0.3% compared with last year’s figures, minister of heavy industries & public enterprises Prakash Javadekar informed the House in written replies to questions. Festive sales normally comprise a third of the total annual sales of the industry.

The Narendra Modi government has taken a raft of measures including cuts in corporate rax rate to 22% to shore up the ailing industry. It is considering a scrappage policy and deferment of the increase in registration fee on new cars till June 2020 and linking of car loans to the repo rate to support the automobile industry.

The government has no data on job losses in the ailing sector despite several reports of retrenchment of temporary workers, the minister said.

In October, sale of passenger vehicles rose by 11%, compared with the year ago period. Big festival discounts offered by car makers also helped to shore up sales numbers. Two-wheeler sales also picked up in October, showing a 5%increase over the same month last year. But commercial vehicles sales continued the slump, registering a decline of 23%.
The 0.3% increase in car sales in the festive month after a prolonged slump for 11 months was due to the good performance by Kia Morors and MG Motor. Higher dispatches by Maruti Suzuki India Ltd also helped boost sales numbers.