Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Car sales growth slows in April

NEW DELHI: Car sales started the new fiscal on a modest note as rising interest rates and fuel prices are set to moderate demand from the scorching 30%-plus growth rate of 2010-11.

Companies are already concerned about the "negatives" that are building up at a time when vehicle prices have gone up due to higher input costs, hitting affordability and sentiments. Maruti and Hyundai both spoke of decline in footfalls. And with the central bank

RBI expected to tighten key interest rates further in its monetary policy review on Tuesday, the industry remains nervous.

"Higher prices of fuel and rising interest rates are already creating a pressure in the market. Footfalls in showrooms have come under pressure," Maruti's managing executive officer (sales and marketing) Mayank Pareek said. Hyundai's marketing and sales director Arvind Saxena said the bearish trend was likely to continue. "The rising interest rates have led to reduced enquires and the conversion rate too has slowed down," Saxena said.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Gardaí seize 20 cars at Kerry rally

MORE THAN 20 cars were seized by gardaí in Killarney, Co Kerry, during the annual Rally of the Lakes at the weekend.

Large numbers of young drivers in modified cars, who were not competing in the rally, were in the tourist town for the event and the car seizures were made under the Road Traffic Act.

There were also reports of “boy racers” taking over sections or roads around Killarney on Friday night and Saturday night before gardaí intervened to move them on. The rally attracted crowds of up to 40,000 motoring fans, down considerably on numbers at the event during the economic boom, and 24 arrests were made, chiefly for Public Order Act offences.

Rally stages were held on mountain roads around south Kerry and west Cork and the event finished last night.

Meanwhile, several thousand people were in Dingle, Co Kerry, for the annual Féile na Bealtaine at the weekend, enjoying a varied programme of music, arts, poetry, lectures and exhibitions.

The festival honoured one of its founder members, Dr Mícheál Fanning, also a poet, as well as publisher Steve McDonagh. Both died in the past six months.

V8 driver crawls clear as car turns into fireball

HOLDEN Commodore driver Karl Reindler was forced to flee for his life as his V8 Supercar exploded in flames in a horrifying race crash in Perth yesterday.

Reindler clawed his way out of the burning car after it stalled on the grid and was hit at high speed by rival driver Steve Owen, erupting into a fireball.

The West Australian's $600,000 machine was all but incinerated, the outside left a whitened shell and its interior heavily damaged.

Somehow Reindler escaped the inferno, although the 26-year-old suffered some burns to his hands and face in one of the most spectacular accidents in V8 Supercars history.

''Before I knew it I saw flames inside the car. I guess I panicked and tried to get out as quickly as I could,'' Reindler said before being taken to hospital. ''My body's fine, it's just my hands.

''I loaded the clutch up, and it stalled. I had my foot all the way down. I didn't even release the clutch. I couldn't get it going at all. There was nothing I could do.''

Owen escaped without serious injury but was taken to hospital after complaining of soreness, the front of his Holden badly burned in the crash at the start of the second race of the weekend at Barbagallo Raceway.

Record fall in domestic Japanese car sales

Japan's domestic sales of cars, trucks and buses fell by a record amount in April, hit by the aftermath of the country's earthquake and tsunami.

With production halted and supply chains broken, sales last month were 51% lower than a year earlier, said the Japan Automobile Dealers Association.

It said sales would continue to be subdued in the months ahead because of a continuing shortage of parts.

April's decline followed a 37% fall in vehicle sales in March.

The earthquake hit north-eastern Japan on 11 March.

The Japan Automobile Dealers Association (Jada) said domestic sales in April totalled 108,824.

The 51% fall from a year earlier was the biggest decline since records began in 1968.

The all-time record fall was 45%, which was recorded in May 1974 during the global oil price crisis.

A Jada spokesman said: "Factory lines started moving again but they are not operating fully yet.

"We are likely to continue feeling the impact [of the disaster]."