Car sales declined 7.6% for the fourth straight month in January as consumers kept away from buying new vehicles due to overall slowdown in the economy, higher interest rates and rising fuel prices.
According to the data released by Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), total of 160,289 passenger cars sold were sold in January as against 173,449 units sold a year ago.
"There is no respite," said Sugato Sen, deputy director general, SIAM.
Sales of most manufacturers declined during the month. Maruti Suzuki, the largest car maker, sold 6.3% less cars in January as against the same month last year, while sales of second largest car manufacturer – Hyundai Motor India -- declined by 2.6%. Companies such as Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M), Toyota Kirloskar Motor, General Motors India, Renault India and Volkswagen India also saw a decline, while sales of Ford India and Honda Cars India grew on the back of new launches.
Sales of total passenger vehicles, including utility vehicles (UVs) and vans declined 7.01% during the month, while sales of UVs grew 6.81% for the month.
Two-wheeler sales, on the other hand, grew 8.85% during the month, as per SIAM, out of which scooter sales grew 28% and motorcycles rose 4.04%. Commercial vehicle sales continued to remain in the negative territory as sales dropped 20.93%.
Despite several launches at the recent Auto Expo, the industry is not very hopeful of any immediate recovery, at least till the elections. "While there are no signs of an immediate recovery, the auto industry is hoping that the government may cut factory gate duties when it presents the interim Budget, Sen said.
The industry body has sought an excise duty cut in order to revive sales.