Domestic passenger vehicle (PV) sales grew at 19.92% in September, touching highest volumes in over four-and-a-half years, led by record sales in the utility vehicles segment. According to the data released by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), PV sales in September stood at 2,78,428 units as against 2,32,170 units in the same month last year.

PVs in March 2012 had seen the sale of 2,95,403 units, showing year-on-year growth of about 22%. Utility vehicle sales last month saw 37.93% jump to 66,851 units, from 48,467 units a year ago. Car sales, on the other hand, grew by 15.14% to 1,95,259 units as against 1,69,590 units.

“The passenger vehicle numbers represent build up of inventories for the festive season. Besides, various car makers have been able to sort out capacity issues leading to supply of certain models which are in high demand,” SIAM Deputy Director General Sugato Sen told reporters here.

Buoyed by the sustained performance, SIAM expects growth in the PV segment in the current fiscal to be in the 10-13% range. “The industry is geared up for the festive season. We expect it to be better than previous years,” SIAM Director General Vishnu Mathur said.

For the April-September period of the current financial year, the PV segment grew by 12.34% over the same period last fiscal. UVs rose by 40.24% during the period, while passenger cars sales grew by 5.11%. Demand for passenger vehicles has been driven by new models, especially in the SUV category with the likes of Maruti Vitara Brezza and Hyundai Creta clocking good numbers.

In September, market leader Maruti Suzuki India’s domestic PV sales grew by 29.41% to 1,37,277 units. It had sold 1,05,236 cars as against 87,916 units in the same month last year, up 19.7%. Rival Hyundai Motors India also saw its PV sales marginally at 42,605 units. The company’s car sales were at 33,742 units as against 35,193 units in the year-ago month, down 4.12%.

Homegrown utility vehicles major Mahindra & Mahindra saw PV sales jump by 4.97% in September to 20,537 units. Its utility vehicle sales were at 19,206 units as against 18,717 units in the same month last year, up 2.61%. According to SIAM, total two-wheeler sales in September grew 21.59% to 18,68,993 units compared with 15,37,104 units in the year-ago month. “Motorcycle sales have picked up in rural areas and scooters continue to do well in urban areas,” Sen said.

Motorcycle sales in the country grew 16.33% last month to 11,86,770 units, from 10,20,204 a year ago. Market leader Hero MotoCorp sold 5,70,591 units as against 5,26,658 units last year, up 8.34%. Rival Bajaj Auto posted a growth of 22.79% at 2,30,502 units as against 1,87,711 units a year-ago.

However, Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India (HMSI) saw its motorcycle sales grow by 24.82% to 1,83,785 units compared with 1,47,229 units in September last year. In scooters segment, overall sales zoomed by 30.6 % to 6,03,818 units as against 4,62,341 units in the same month last year.

Market leader HMSI posted a growth of 34.51% at 3,55,688 units as against 2,64,416 units in the corresponding month last year. Hero MotoCorp’s scooter sales jumped by 33.34% to 83,990 units as against 62,986 units in year-ago month.

Chennai-based TVS Motor posted scooter sales of 78,534 units compared with 71,303 units in September 2015, a growth of 10.14%. Sales of commercial vehicles, however, declined by 1.95% to 61,621 units in the month under review, from 62,845 in the year-ago period, SIAM said.

“Very strong positive growth in medium and heavy truck (M&HCV) segment have now turned to negative. It is a worry area. Although activity in core sectors like mining has begun but actual action on ground is yet ti take off,” Mathur said. Total sales of vehicles across categories registered an increase of 20.16% to 22,60,992 units in September as against 18,81,643 units in the year-earlier month.