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Car sales slide first time in 11 years

New Delhi, Jan. 9: Car sales dipped 10 per cent in 2013 — the first yearly decline in 11 years — as consumer sentiment was hit by rising prices and a general slowdown in the economy.

According to the Society of Indian Automobile Industry (Siam), sales last year fell to 18 lakh units from 2 lakh in the previous year. “The decline in annual car sales that we witnessed in 2013 was the first time since 2002. Negative sentiments have deepened because of the current state of the economy,” Siam director-general Vishnu Mathur told reporters here.

He said high inflation, fuel prices and interest rates — which resulted in high cost of ownership — have affected sentiments. In fact, considering monthly figures, positive growth was recorded in only three of the past 17 months — October 2012, August and September 2013.

The industry hasn’t yet bottomed out, Mathur said, adding that other segments such as commercial vehicles are badly hurt because of the lack of mining activities and stalled infrastructure projects.

“We expect some rebound happening in commercial vehicles in the second half of the year,” Mathur said, adding that it can rub off on passenger cars as well.

Meanwhile, total vehicle sales fell 1.21 per cent to 14.3 lakh units in December from 14.4 lakh units in the same month of 2012. Car sales declined 4.52 per cent to 1,32,561 units from 1,38,835 units in December 2012.

While sales in urban India slowed, the rural market helped the industry wade through the tough time.

In December, Maruti Suzuki posted a 6.4 per cent increase in sales at 73,155 units against 68,729 units in the year-ago period. Hyundai Motor India’s sales were up 6.2 per cent at 28,320 units compared with 26,651 units last year.

Bucking the trend

Motorcycle and scooter sales rose in 2013, buoyed by the consistent monsoon, which resulted in a good harvest last year. Sales, however, declined in December.

Sales rose 3.92 per cent to 1.4 lakh units in 2013 from 1.38 lakh units in 2012.

 
 
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