While December and January have been dull months for car sales in Gujarat, dealers are expecting sales to pick up considerably in February, primarily for two reasons; fear of excise hike in the Union budget coupled with a positive buying sentiment in the market thanks to recent Reserve Bank of India (RBI) rate cut.
Gujarat-based dealers said that sales should pick up by 25-40 per cent compared to December-January period, however, on a year-on-year basis, the rise would be in the range of five to eight per cent.
Vishal Sharma, regional manager for Maruti Suzuki India said, "There is indeed a positive sentiment in the market after the RBI announced a rate cut. Also, as some people are expected to pre-pone the buying before the Union budget, sales in the Gujarat market should pick up considerably. Traditionally, December and January are bad months in Gujarat, and we are expecting February to be good in terms of sales." Maruti sales is around 7,500 cars in Gujarat per month.
A city-based Toyota dealer said that nearly 80 per cent of its sales are from diesel vehicles and as the market is anticipating a hike in excise in diesel SUVs, the sales in February should receive a good boost.
Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) is another major player in the diesel vehicles space, with a huge portfolio of diesel SUVs. Jacob Verghese, senior general manager, sales, west zone for M&M said that compared to December and January, sales are likely to pick up in February. "We had sold around 2,000 vehicles in January in Gujarat. And we expect that to grow significantly in February," Verghese says. He added that Gujarat market is also sensitive to stock market movements, and as the bourses are performing relatively better it could act as a boost as well.
Sukhbir Bagga, director, Group Planet Petal, which owns dealerships of multiple brands in the city including Nissan, Hyundai, Ashok Leyland said, "The recent rate cut announced by the RBI has infused some positive sentiments in the market, and that has already started reflecting in the customer enquiries."