New Delhi: Indian passenger vehicle sales increased for the fourth straight month as pent-up demand, need for personal mobility solutions, lower impact of coronavirus pandemic and sustained income in rural areas continued to boost sales in November.

Industry estimates around 2,86,000 passenger vehicles were sold last month, an increase of 9% over 2,63,773 units sold in the year-ago period, shows data available with industry body the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers.

Market leader Maruti Suzuki registered a 2.4% dip with 1,35,775 units sold. While sales of passenger cars decreased 4.7%, those of utility vehicles rose 2.4%. Korean rival Hyundai Motor India saw a growth of 9.4% to 48,800 units. The company expects the momentum to continue in the coming months.

“During the pandemic period, according to our market research and customer survey, almost 1 million customers deferred purchases… already in the past quarter we could see some (of that) new car demand. This pent-up demand will continue in the coming quarters as well, probably this quarter and first quarter of calendar year 2021,” SS Kim, MD at Hyundai Motor India, said in a recent interaction.

Kim, however, cautioned, “In the end, overall market situation will be determined by macro-economic indicators, such as GDP growth, employment.” New entrants Kia Motors India and MG Motor India continued to post double-digit increase in sales numbers.

While volumes at Kia rose 50% to 21,022 units driven by demand for the newly launched Sonet, MG Motor India grew retail sales by 28.5% to 4,163 units and raced ahead of Ford India in November. Kookhyun Shim, MD, Kia Motors India, said since the Covid-19 outbreak, the company was quite hopeful about the festive month and the results are overwhelming.

“Not only urban, but customers from tier II, III, and IV markets too are acknowledging the need for personal mobility to maintain personal safety,” said Shim, adding the company expects the market sentiment to improve more in coming months. Mahindra, which grew by 27% to sell 17,971 units, too expects the demand momentum to sustain post the festive season.

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