Domestic passenger car and two-wheeler sales surged in February as customers advanced their purchases in anticipation of an increase in excise duties in the Union Budget that could have made cars and bikes costlier.
Market leader Maruti Suzuki India Ltd (MSIL) registered a 20% growth in sales to over 1 lakh units during the month over the same period a year ago, even as arch rival Hyundai saw its sales growth slide to 5%.
Tata Motors, Skoda, Toyota and Mahindra&Mahindra also saw high double-digit growth in February sales, with Ford tripling its sales from last year.
"In the latter half of the month we did observe some purchases being advanced as customers were wary of a hike in excise duty or an additional levy on diesel," said Mayank Pareek, managing executive officer (marketing and sales), MSIL. "We are selling as much as we can produce."
With the finance minister choosing not to increase excise duties, sales are however expected to moderate in the coming months.
Hyundai chose to play down the disparity in its sales growth as compared to the industry.
"While the industry growth might be unusually high, Hyundai recorded positive growth supported by steady sales of its compact cars," said Arvind Saxena, director (sales and marketing), Hyundai India. "We expect the average industry growth rate to stabilise in the future months."
In two-wheelers, all major manufacturers saw double-digit growth, with Hero Honda and TVS registering over 23% growth each.
"Our performance throughout this fiscal has been very consistent," said Anil Dua, senior vice president (marketing and sales), Hero Honda.