In a slow start to the year 2015, domestic passenger car sales rose 3.14 per cent in January, which industry body SIAM described as "realistic levels" considering the current economic situation.
As per the latest data released by Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), car sales in India in January stood at 1,69,300 units as against 1,64,149 units in the year-ago month.
"The 3-5 per cent growth rate is realistic in view of the current economic situation. December sales were an aberration due to the excise duty cut coming into play from January," SIAM Director General Vishnu Mathur told reporters here.
The over 3 per cent growth in car sales in January came after the industry recorded an increase of 15.26 per cent growth in December, the highest for the ongoing fiscal, aided by advance purchases by customers due to imminent rise in prices due to expiry of excise duty concessions.
"The industry would grow in the range of 3-5 per cent in the remaining part of the fiscal as expecting more than that would be an ambitious target," he added.
In January, market leader Maruti Suzuki posted a growth of 7.94 per cent in domestic passenger car sales at 89,014 units as against 82,461 units in the same month last year.
Rival Hyundai Motor India saw its sales grow by 3.87 per cent to 34,643 units as compared to 33,351 units in the same month last year.
Honda Cars India witnessed a decline of 1.7 per cent in domestic sales of its passenger cars at 15,331 units as against 15,597 units in the year-ago month.
Homegrown auto major Tata Motors' sales increased 37.5 per cent at 11,637 units as against 8,463 units in January 2014, while utility vehicles major Mahindra & Mahindra's sales during the month declined by 3.56 per cent to 18,550 units as against 19,236 units in the same period last year.
As per SIAM, total two-wheeler sales in January rose 1.07 per cent to 13,27,957 units.
Motorcycle sales last month declined 5.85 per cent to 8,68,507 units as compared to 9,22,485 units in the year-ago period.
"Urban demand is shifting towards scooters. Besides, rural income has been impacted due to several reasons including less rainfall. All these factors have impacted motorcycle sales," Mathur said.
Market leader Hero MotoCorp saw its sales dip 4.12 per cent to 4,69,136 units as against 4,89,322 units in the same month last year.
Bajaj Auto registered sales of 1,28,937 units as against 1,67,869 units in the same period last year, down 23.19 per cent.
Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India (HMSI) witnessed a decline of 3.18 per cent at 1,49,023 units as against 1,53,930 units in January 2014.
The total scooter sales in January 2015 stood at 4,04,919 units as compared to 3,23,162 units in the same month last year, up 25.30 per cent.
Scooter market leader HMSI posted a growth of 29.20 per cent at 2,28,479 units as against 1,76,831 units in the year-ago month.
Hero MotoCorp scooter sales were up 18.99 per cent at 77,033 units in January as against 64,737 units last year.
Chennai-based TVS Motor Co saw its scooter sales zoom by 28.47 per cent to 55,889 units as against 43,502 units in the same period last year.
Sales of commercial vehicles rose 5.30 per cent to 52,481 units in January this year, SIAM said.
"Sales of heavy commercial vehicles have shown improvement as people have started buying new vehicles. There was a vacuum in the system for the last three years and people were now buying new vehicles. Now they have started replacing their old vehicles with new ones," Mathur said.
Total vehicle sales across categories registered an increase of 1.66 per cent to 16,50,382 units from 16,23,429 units in January 2014, SIAM said.
With the 2015-16 Budget round the corner, SIAM is pitching for reduction in taxes down the entire supply chain of the auto industry and not just the end product.
"Besides, we have asked for the implementation of electric vehicle mobility plan and incentive scheme for fleet modernisation and better depreciation rate for passenger cars," SIAM Deputy Director General Sugato Sen said.
Consolidation of taxes and moderate levels of taxation for the industry as a whole are other demands, he added.