Passenger car sales in India declined by 8.25 per cent in November as the festive season spirit failed to prolong enthusiasm among consumers, whose sentiments remained low due to high interest rates and fuel prices and other macro-economic factors.

With a subdued growth in sales of two-wheelers, the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) today said it may revise the forecast downward for 2012-13 next month.

According to November sales data of automobiles released by SIAM, the total sale of vehicles across categories registered an increase of 1.79 per cent at 15,15,600 units last month as against 14,88,894 units in the year-ago month.

In the domestic passenger car segment, sales fell by 8.25 per cent to 1,58,257 units last month compared to 1,72,493 units in the same month last year.

“The carryover from the festive season was not there. Market continues to be tough due to the same reasons such as the high interest rates and fuel prices, and low consumer sentiments,” SIAM Director General Vishnu Mathur told presspersons here.

This is the steepest decline since August 2012 when the sales dropped by 18.56 per cent, he added.

Talking about the current month, Mathur said: “December looks to be even worse as historically we never had higher sales in the month compared to October and November.”

When asked if the industry body would revise the yearly car sales forecast for the fourth time next month, he said SIAM may not revise it as the April-November sales growth stands at 1.28 per cent, which falls within the forecast of 1-3 per cent for the fiscal.

“...but for the two-wheelers that ( sales growth forecast for FY’13) was at 4.05 per cent for the period, is lower than 5-7 per cent for the fiscal. Therefore, we may have to revise it,” Mathur said.

He said the overall slow economic growth of the country and consumers becoming insecure about their jobs have compounded problems and have hit the entry-level small car segment.

During the month, market leader Maruti Suzuki’s sales rose by 2.35 per cent to 74,793 units. Rival Hyundai Motor India’s sales, however, decreased marginally to 34,698 units.

Homegrown auto major Tata Motors’ car sales were down by 42.49 per cent at 13,538 units.

In the two-wheeler segment, total sales in November 2012 rose by 1.23 per cent to 11,75,429 units from 11,61,176 in November, 2011.

Motorcycle sales last month went up marginally to 8,67,518 units from 8,67,088 units in the year-ago month.

(This article was published on December 10, 2012)
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