Optimism is the latest catchphrase in the automobile sector as the dealers are keeping fingers crossed for the December-January sales to attain a much-needed push for revival in the sector.
The industry, which has seen the sales graph remain dormant for quite some time now is banking on the festive season to help lift the graph and provide some cheer to the major automobile companies.
According to industry estimates, car sales are down by about 50 per cent in recent times. This year, the August-September Onam-ramzan season, which used to be the peak season for sales in the industry, did not prove encouraging for the dealers.
John K Paul, managing director, Popular Vehicles and Services Ltd, said that the automobile market is on an ebb, not only in the city but across the country as well.
“It is the two-wheeler sales that are driving the market now. Owing to the financial slowdown and high interest rate regime, customers are keeping away from the market. Normally the sales are good in the December-January season, and we expect the same this year too. But last year in the same period, the sales were up by 25-30 per cent. Considering the flat market now we expect a two digit growth in sales this time, compared to October-November period,” he added.
The Indian auto market has been facing turbulent times with car sales growth pegged to be the lowest in last 10 years. In Kochi, about 12,000 vehicles are sold in a month on an average. The city accounts for around 45-50 per cent of the total sales in the state. South Kerala and north Kerala hold second and third positions respectively. “Though the schemes and offers for the festive season are yet to be announced, we expect some revival in the market in the coming two months. In January, the beginning of a new calender year naturally pushes up the sales,” said Kiran Nandan, marketing manager, Volkswagen, Kochi.
Industry sources said that though there are takers for Grand i10, Ecosport and New Innova, the customer push is not visible.
“2013 was not a good year for the auto sector as the prices went up at the beginning of the year. The customer sentiment has been negative throughout. A turnaround is expected in 2014,” said a salesperson of Renault, Kochi.