Indian car sales slump

12 December 2012

NEW DELHI: Unit sales of new passenger cars in India fell 8.3% year on year in November, signalling weakness in consumer confidence and the broader economy on the subcontinent.

Latest figures from the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) indicate that, despite strong data for October, an expected surge in demand had not continued into the following month.

Car sales grew just 1.3% in the eight months from April to November compared to the same period in 2011. The organisation has now slashed its growth forecast for the year, from 10-12% to just 1-3%.

"The situation is getting worse," said Sugato Sen, SIAM deputy director general, "as signs of a slowdown are becoming visible in rural markets." And he feared that December would not bring any relief "as historically it is not a month that witnesses good numbers".

A slowdown in India's economy, high interest rates and rising running costs are among the reasons for the poor performance of a sector that was recording sales growth of 20% just 18 months ago.

Other segments in the auto category fared little better. Sales of motorcycles were flat, while truck and bus sales were down 7.3%.

The brightest spot was in sales of three wheelers, which recorded a 20.7% rise in November.

Overall, sales in the auto category were up 1.8% in November and up 4.8% between April and November.

Earlier this year, it was reported that General Motors, Ford, Honda and Fiat had accumulated losses of Rs1,127 crore between 2008 and 2011 as they moved seriously into India, investing in plant and new models aimed at the local market.

Data sourced from livemint; additional content by Warc staff