Ford India recently launched this new Figo Aspire model targeted at the tax-friendly sub-four-metre sedan segment

Ford India recently launched this new Figo Aspire model targeted at the tax-friendly sub-four-metre sedan segment

Sales of passenger cars in India rose by almost 5% to 1.87m in fiscal 2014-15 (year ended 31 March, 2015) after a decline in the previous two years.

In the previous two financial years, car sales  dropped 7.7% and 4.7%, respectively, according to Business Standard, citing data from the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (Siam).

"During FY15, general sentiment improved in the car industry. Investment cycles restarted and the worries which people were having [wewre] greatly diminished, Siam director-general Vishnu Mathur said.

Interest rates and fuel costs also came down, reducing the overall cost of ownership, he added.

However, total sales were still far below the tally for the fiscal year ended March 2011.

"The overall yearly performance is far from satisfactory," said S Sandilya, the former president of Siam, told Business Standard.

During the year, India's automakers launched 27 new models, 26 refreshed models and 37 variants of new models. According to Siam data, the overall passenger vehicle industry - including sales of cars, utility vehicles and vans - grew 3.9% to 2.6 mn units in 2014-15.

However, commercial vehicles declined 2.8% to 614,961, though sales of medium and heavy CVs increased 16% to 232,755 units. Mathur told the paper sales of heavy trucks had gained due to the start of various infrastructure activities like mining and construction of roads but sales of light CVs had still not picked up.

"The total volume of medium and heavy CVs is far lower than in 2011-12,” said Sandilya.

During 2014-15, overall automobile exports grew 14.9% to 3,573,806 units (including motorcycles), compared to 3,110,584 units in 2013-14.

On 2015-16, Mathur said the industry was "hoping for a moderate growth".

Honda, Hyundai and Maruti Suzuki did best in the passenger vehicle segment, thanks to new model launches. During fiscal 2014/15, Honda’s domestic sales grew 40.7%, Maruti Suzuki's by 11.1% and Hyundai volume 10.6%, according to Siam data.

Sales of Fiat, Ford, General Motors, Renault, Skoda, Tata Motors and Volkswagen declined.