Car sales crashed to a negative in 2012-13, the fall coming after a decade, as the slowing economy and continuance

of high interest rates kept buyer sentiment at its lowest. The industry is already worried as frequent production cuts and halt in investments are raising doubts over the earlier perception of India being one of the biggest-potential car markets in the world. Demand for new cars has remained weak for most parts of the fiscal, and March did not prove to be any different. The fall in March will be the fifth straight month of decline for the car industry. Maruti, Hyundai and Tata Motors — among the country's top auto makers — all finished March with negative volumes (year-on-year) and the industry is pinning hopes on new launches like Honda Amaze sedan and Ford Eco Sport SUV for incremental numbers. The last time the Indian car market was in the red was in 2002-03 when it fell by 2.1%. The fall in 2012-13 will be even sharper as the contraction has been much more now, sources said. While Maruti saw numbers slip by 4% at 1.07 lakh units, Hyundai, the country's secondbiggest maker, saw domestic market numbers go down by 14%. Tata Motors also continued to stay in troubled waters as its passenger vehicle volumes crashed by 67% in March (at 12,347 units). For the second month in a row, Tata Motors — once the second-biggest passenger vehicle maker of the country — lagged Toyota in overall volumes. High interest rates and slowing economy have been the biggest dampeners for the car market. The spurt in fuel prices has only added to the woes of buyers who have remained away from the market for most part of the fiscal year. "The slowdown of economy is impacting vehicle sales. Against the large base of last year, there was a sharp drop in conversion of enquiries in the absence of any positive stimulus and sentiments. We foresee the pressure on volumes to continue till there is significant improvement in macro- economic factors," said Rakesh Srivastava, VP (Sales and Marketing) at Hyundai India. Companies say that the market is expected to remain edgy over the coming months too and any improvement can be expected only when the RBI goes for a significant cut in interest rates or the economy shows some concrete signs of improvement.

particularly among lower. "The overall economic growth was not so encouraging in last fiscal.down 6.09 per cent.82.306 units in the previous fiscal. which ranged around 11-15 per cent. SIAM said. "There has been a drop in walk-ins at showrooms and conversion to sales (of inquiries) are taking time.12 per cent at 3. Car sales in India fell for the first time in a decade . According to the data released by Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM). Also negative sentiments.61.end customers." SIAM President S Sandilya told reporters here.There is pressure at retail outlets as people stay away from new buys even as dealers and companies are offering lucrative discounts and attractive offers. and high fuel prices. compared to 20. he added. Overall. Higher cost of ownership impacted car sales. market leader Maruti Suzuki's sales went up marginally to 8. passenger car sales in the last fiscal stood at 18. COO of Competent Motors.692 units. when car sales had dropped 2.74. while rival Hyundai Motor's saw a fall of 1. mainly that of petrol. The decline in passenger car sales last fiscal was also the steepest in the past 12 years when the segment declined by 7. .28 per cent to 1.851 units." said Kamal K Kumar. In 2012-13. Tata Motors' car sales dipped by 32. have resulted in fall of sales. one of Maruti's top dealer in Delhi. also impacted car sales during the last fiscal. This is the first annual decline since 2002-03. High interest rates.471 units.337 units.69 per cent in 2012-13 – as the automobile industry struggled to cope with demand slump due to a sluggish economy.31. there is a problem.95.73 per cent in 2000-01.

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