MUMBAI (NewsRise) -- Passenger vehicle sales in India grew a better-than-expected 7.5% in April amid demand for utility vehicles and vans.
According to data from industry group Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers, or SIAM, sales of passenger vehicles, including cars, sport-utility vehicles, and vans, rose to 298,504 units last month from 277,683 a year earlier. Nomura had expected the industry to grow 4% last month.
Sales of SUVs recorded a 12% increase to 79,136 units as demand for models such as Maruti Suzuki India's Vitara Brezza, Jeep's Compass, and Hyundai Motor's Creta continued to expand.
Car sales grew 4.9% to 200,183 units in April. Automobile sales in India are counted as factory dispatches and not retail sales.
Passenger vehicle sales at Maruti, the nation's largest car maker, grew 14% to touch the highest monthly sales in a year in April. Demand for Maruti's compact cars Swift and Baleno surged 32%.
Mahindra & Mahindra, India's second-largest SUV maker, reported a 22% increase in April sales. Tata Motors, India's largest automobile company by revenue, reported a 34% increase in volumes during the month.
Sales of industry-wide SUVs expanded 21% in the year ended in March, outstripping a 7.9% rise in overall passenger vehicle sales. The launch of affordable compact SUVs by companies such as Maruti has prompted a shift in demand.
SIAM has forecast sales of passenger vehicles to grow in high single-digit during this fiscal year that began in April.
Domestic sales of trucks and buses, considered a barometer of the economy's health, jumped about 76% to 72,993 units in April. Truck demand has received a boost in India with the federal government focus on building more highways, ports, and airports. Stricter implementation of a ban on overloading of trucks also helped shift demand toward bigger vehicles.
Sales of two-wheelers jumped 17% in April to about 1.96 million units.
--Dhanya Ann Thoppil