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UPDATE 2-Japan Feb car sales jump; India sustains recovery
March 1, 2012 / 7:57 AM / 6 years ago

UPDATE 2-Japan Feb car sales jump; India sustains recovery

 * Feb auto sales surge 29.5 pct on tax breaks, subsidies
 * Monthly sales rise year-on-year for 6th consecutive month
 * Government incentives favour hybrids, electric vehicles
 * India sales steady; Maruti shares jump

 (Adds India carmakers' sales)	
 TOKYO/NEW DELHI, March 1 (Reuters) - Car sales in
Japan jumped in February as government efforts to revive
domestic sales and replenished inventories drew buyers into
showrooms in the world's third-largest car market.	
 New automobile sales in Japan surged 29.5 percent
year-on-year to 519,626 vehicles in February, industry data
showed on Thursday. Excluding 660cc minivehicles, sales jumped
31.9 percent to 333,213 vehicles, the sixth consecutive month of
annual gains.	
 Japanese automakers are expecting a standout home market in
2012 following the extension of tax incentives for
fuel-efficient cars and the return of subsidies to encourage
replacement of older cars with new, cleaner vehicles.	
 "Customer understanding (of a recovery in supply and
government incentives) is rising, so we have similar
expectations for March," said Michiro Saito, an official at the
Japan Automobile Dealers Association.	
 In 2011, Japan's massive earthquake and tsunami then
flooding in Thailand, a major manufacturing base, caused
autoparts shortages and production suspensions, cutting
inventories and sales.	
 Japanese auto demand is expected to rise 19 percent in 2012,
partly due to higher sales in tsunami-hit areas, where thousands
of cars were destroyed, and thanks to government efforts to
stimulate demand. 	
 The incentives especially favour hybrids, pure electric cars
and other vehicles that employ advanced technology such as clean
diesel engines. That particularly benefits Toyota Motor Corp
 and Honda Motor Co.	
 Sales at top-ranked Toyota, excluding its Lexus brand,
soared 38.2 percent last month, while those of Honda jumped 46.7
percent.	
 	
 INDIA STEADY	
 Meanwhile Indian carmakers, led by top player Maruti Suzuki
, posted steady growth in sales for February, the
penultimate month in an otherwise disappointing fiscal year.	
 Maruti, 54.2 percent owned by Japan's Suzuki Motor Corp
, said it sold 118,949 vehicles in February, an increase
of 6.5 percent from the year-ago period. 	
 The company, which suffered significant production losses in
2011 due a strike, last month reported its first monthly sales
rise since May 2011.	
 Shares in Maruti, valued at about $7.5 billion, jumped as
much as 5 percent to 1,317.60 rupees in a weak Mumbai market.	
 Tata Motors , which makes the Nano, the
world's cheapest car, also posted a 19 percent jump in February
sales. 	
 Tata Motors also owns the luxury Jaguar and Land Rover
brands, but their sales are not included in the company's
monthly figures.	
 Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd, India's largest maker of
utility vehicles and tractors, said total vehicle sales for
February jumped 29 percent to 43,087, while exports surged 86
percent.	
 Annual car sales in India are expected to drop in the year
ending in March for the first time since 2002, as high financing
and running costs deterred buyers in one of the fastest growing
markets in the world. 	
	
 (Reporting by James Topham and Anurag Kotoky; Editing by
Michael Watson and Matt Driskill)	
 

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