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Festive optimism spurs car sales

NEW DELHI/CHENNAI: Car and two-wheeler companies started stocking up for the festive period as wholesale deliveries to dealerships in August beat the numbers achieved in the same month last year, holding out hope that a credible revival is around the corner.
The industry, which was battered by the corona-induced slowdown and economic downturn, seems to be taking small steps towards a recovery, though industry officials warn that a confirmed view can only be taken after looking at actual retail demand in the coming months.
The surge has been led by smaller cars and entry models as more people look at personal mobility in view of safety concerns around coronavirus, which has restricted public transport movement, including that of shared car platforms such as Ola and Uber.
Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai, the top two carmakers, brought in some good news as their numbers were up by around 20%, even as companies such as Toyota (-48%) and Honda Cars (-9%) still struggle, while Mahindra just-about managed to stay positive at 1% growth. On the two-wheeler side, Hero managed to come out positive (year-on-year), and so did TVS.
According to industry officials, the fear of coronavirus and less cash at hand has almost doubled the sales of entry-level cars with Maruti Suzuki witnessing a nearly 95% rise in sales of Alto and S Presso models. Hyundai too clocked maximum sales in the hatchback segment in August at 20,650 units, while the Renault Kwid hit top gear with 3,677 units, up 68%.

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