Fuel price, interest rates hit car sales in India

New Delhi, July 1 (IANS) High interest rates and rising fuel prices, especially of diesel, have hit auto sales in India, as major firms Maruti Suzuki, Mahindra & Mahindra, Tata Motors and Toyota reported drop in offtake in June.

The country's largest car maker, Maruti Suzuki's sales dropped 12.6 percent to 84,455 units in June, due to slowdown in all segments. The company had sold 96,597 units in June 2012.

There was a sharp drop in the company's exports. Maruti Suzuki exported just 7,453 units in June this year, 43 percent less than 13,066 units sold overseas during the same month last year.

The company's domestic sale dropped by 7.8 percent to 77,002 units during the month under review as compared to 83,531 units sold in June 2012.

Other major players in the Indian auto markets Tata Motors, Mahindra & Mahindra, Toyota and General Motors also reported drop in sales.

Rising prices of diesel, petrol and CNG and high interest rates are the major factors behind the sluggish auto sales in the country.

Tata Motors' sale of passenger vehicles in the domestic market slumped by 31.54 percent to 11,804 units in June. The company's total sale of commercial and passenger vehicles were 52,708 units.

Toyota Kirloskar Motor's sale dropped 19.45 percent to 13,805 units in the month under review.

Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) domestic sales also declined by 7.04 percent at 36,207 units in June 2013 as compared to 38,951 units sold in the same month last year.

Maruti Suzuki posted drop in sales in all segments. Sale of passenger cars that include utility vehicles like Gypsy, Grand Vitara, Ertiga and Omni and Eeco vans, slumped by 8.2 percent to 65,172 units.

Mini car sales that include M800, Alto, A-Star and WagonR dropped by 8.4 percent. Sale of compact cars Swift, Estilo and Ritz declined by 7.2 percent and super compact car Dzire sale slumped by 8.7 percent.

There was no buyer for Maruti Suzuki's luxury sedan Kizashi during the month under review, while sales of the company's mid-sized sedan SX4 slumped by 23 percent to 314 units.

However, Honda said its sales surged by 248 percent to 9,297 units in June.

"We are extremely delighted with the consumer response to Amaze which has surpassed all expectations and is further gaining momentum. We already have more than 18,000 happy Amaze customers and we hope to add many more going forward," Jnaneswar Sen, senior vice president, marketing and sales, Honda Cars India, said in a statement.

Two- and three-wheeler maker TVS Motor Company said it sold 4,565 units less last month compared to what it had sold last June.

In a statement, the company said it sold 164,128 units in June 2013, down from 168,693 units sold in June 2012.

The company sold 157,351 two-wheelers last month against 165,438 units sold in June 2012.

Sales of three-wheelers showed a significant increase to 6,777 units in June 2013 from 3,255 units logged in June 2012.

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