Domestic car sales down 4.7%, says SIAM

Car sales in the country have declined by 4.7 per cent during April-September, which is the sharpest decline in half-year sales since 2002-2003, as per the latest data released by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) on Tuesday.

Even as cars posted a marginal 0.7 per cent growth in sales in September, when 156,018 units were sold in India, the Indian auto industry is facing a second consecutive year of decline largely impacted by rising fuel prices and high interest rates that forced consumer to delay fresh spending in a slowing economy.

While rupee movement has seen correction, the concerns of high interest rates still persist, said SIAM. According to SIAM President Vikram Kirloskar, “Interest rates are still very high in the country, but the rupee movement seems to have stabilize now. We are not seeing any encouraging signs on the economy side and I'll be thrilled if the auto industry is flat or a little bit positive.”

Domestic car sales continued to decline for the past nine months with a minor uptick in August on the back of some good performance by segment leader Maruti Suzuki. The sluggish sentiments has taken its toll not just on the vehicle manufacturers, but the entire industry, including component manufacturers, financers and dealers, as the tapering demand is affecting jobs in the market.

The Indian auto industry is however expecting some recovery in demand on the back of a strong monsoon which have supplemented farm incomes as well as some excitement from new car launches like Ford EcoSport, Hyundai Grand i10 and Honda Amaze that are seeing some strong sales. The sales of motorcycles that rose 17.4 per cent in September to 8.85 lakh units proved to be a silver lining for the struggling auto industry.

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