Pune: The passenger vehicle industry in India expected to grow between 8 per cent and 10 per cent during FY19 is likely to be half of that with the muted March sales impacting car manufacturers in Asia's third biggest economy.
Sales have remained subdued for the last several months despite dealers enticing buyers with heavy discounts ranging between Rs 15,000 and Rs 1.4 lakh per vehicle.
Auto analysts said the reluctance of banks to lend, rising fuel prices, increase in product prices by manufacturers and negative buyer sentiments were some reasons why the demand refused to pick up.
A clearer picture will emerge later in the month when Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers or Siam, the apex trade body releases the detailed data.
The biggest disappointment came from Maruti Suzuki, India's biggest car maker with 51 per cent market, whole sales fell 1.5 per cent impacting the industry while sporty utility vehicle specialist Mahindra barely managed 4 per cent and Toyota Kirloskar Moto 2 per cent increment last month.
Maruti Suzuki reported the first drop in domestic sales in seven months despite incremental sales coming from two new models Wagon R and Ertiga last month.
The maker of popular models like Vitara Brezza and Baleno sold 1,45,031 cars in March, down from 1,47,170 units it sold last year.
While new models of Wagon R and Ertiga helped boost sales during March, inconsistent demand for Alto, Ciaz, Swift, Baleno and Ignis hurt overall sales. Sales at Maruti Suzuki for the whole year 2018-19 rose only 5.3 per cent at 1.72 million units from 1.64 million units during the previous year.
Sales at sports utility vehicle specialist Mahindra & Mahindra increased 4 per cent primarily because of its three new models XUV 300, Marazzo MPV and Alturas 4G premium SUV, during the last two quarters.
The Mumbai-based maker of popular models like Scorpio and Bolero sold 27,646 units during March.
During fiscal 2018-19, M&M clocked a growth of 2 per cent to 254,701 units.
"We have closed FY-19 with robust double-digit growth of 11 per cent at an overall level, despite strong headwinds faced by the Indian automotive industry this year. This growth has been supported by our three new product launches, which have been well received in the market," Rajan Wadhera, president, automotive sector at M&M said.
Sales at Bengalore-based Toyota Kirloskar Motor grew merely 2 per cent to 12,818 units last month, up from 12,539 units it sold last year.
"We are happy to have clocked a growth of 7 per cent in domestic sales in FY2019. The Innova Crysta and Fortuner have been maintaining the growth trajectory and continue to be leaders in the segment," N. Raja, Deputy Managing Director at Toyota Kirloskar Motor, said....