The Indian passenger car market registered a buoyant sales chart for August 2005. Hyundai Motor India reached a record high total sales (including exports) of 24,311 cars in the month, growing some 32% compared to sales in August 2004. Its sales in the Indian market were 14,902 units, ascending 51.2% since 2004, while exports grew 9.8% to 9,409 units.

Market leader Maruti shifted a total of 46,509 units including 4,792 units in exports in August 2005. Its domestic sales grew 10.8% to 41,717 units. Decline continued in the M800 model sales as Maruti's newer models continued to cannibalise the entry-level model pushing its sales down 18.7% to 7,084 units from 8,713 units in August 2004. The combined sales of Maruti's offerings in the domestic A2 segment grew by 26.8 per cent during the month to 26,558 units pulled up strongly by the Swift model which continues to sell with a long backlog in orders.

Toyota Kirloskar Motors recorded sustained growth in August with sales growing 37% to 4,615 vehicles. Innova sales were steady at 3,760 units, growing 47% over August 2004. General Motors India posted August 2005 sales of 3,159 cars, a steep rise of 40% over August 2004. The month's sales include 811 units of Chevrolet Optra, 1339 Opel Corsa cars, 1,003 Chevrolet Tavera MUVs and 6 Chevrolet Forester SUVs.

Skoda Auto India announced its August 2005 sales at 775 units including 20 units of its flagship Superb model. Sales notched up a 29% gain over 603 cars sold last year. 

Tata Motors' car sales dropped by a marginal 0.6% in August 2005, to 13,879 vehicles as against its car sales in August 2004. Tata is feeling the strain as its models age amongst the new offerings by global players. However, decline should ease once Tata introduces the much-awaited CRDI engine in its Indica range and maybe a modest facelift before the complete model changeover expected in 2007.

The outlook for the passenger car market is however rather mediocre due to factors like rising oil prices, exchange rate fluctuations and commodity price trends. Industry expects duty cuts for cars in the next budget which might affect sales in this year as customers elect to defer purchase.

Deepesh Rathore / Tilak Swarup

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