Car sales in India grew at the slowest pace since May 2009 as higher interest rates and rising fuel prices damped demand.
Deliveries climbed seven per cent to 158,817 from 148,425 a year earlier, according to data released by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) yesterday. India's car-sales growth for the year ending March 31, 2012, may slow to half the previous year's 30 per cent increase, said Pawan Goenka, president of the industry group.
"Prices and interest rates have gone up, availability of financing and customer sentiment are down," Sugato Sen, a senior director of the industry group, told reporters in New Delhi yesterday. "Things are not moving enough at the retail level."
Auto sales have slowed as the Reserve Bank of India raised interest rates nine times since mid-March 2010 to tackle inflation. Reserve Bank Governor Duvvuri Subbarao on May 3 increased the repurchase rate by half a percentage point to 7.25 per cent, the biggest move since July 2008, and indicated he is ready to step up the battle against prices even at the risk of sacrificing growth.
Tata Motors Ltd. shares fell 1.2 per cent to Rs1,015.95 (Dh83.4) in Mumbai, set for the lowest close in nine months.
Maruti Suzuki India Ltd. shares fell as much 1.1 per cent and were changing hands at Rs1,218.
Maruti, the maker of about half of India's passenger cars, said it may miss its sales-growth forecast of as much as 15 per cent in the year that started April 1, as increasing interest costs drove down demand for cars in a country where about 80 per cent of sales are loan-funded.
State-owned refiner Indian Oil Corp, the country's largest, raised the price of petrol by Rs5 a litre to Rs63.37 in New Delhi last month the biggest increase since June 2008.
Sales of trucks and buses, and motorcycles, however, increased 16 and 14 per cent.
From / Gulf News