India auto sales up 3.4pc in April
MUMBAI, May 11 — Car sales in India rose just 3.4 per cent year on year in April, data from an industry body showed yesterday, after the government hiked taxes on vehicles and car makers raised prices.
Firms sold 168,351 cars in the domestic market in April, up from 162,813 in the same month last year, its sixth monthly increase, according to the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM). Sales rose 20 per cent in March.
Analysts said that the recent rise in taxes and resultant hikes in the price of vehicles has temporarily affected demand.
The broader trend shows that demand for cars is slowing, rising just 2.19 per cent for the full year to March 31, well down from a scorching 29 per cent in the previous fiscal year.
The growth is its slowest in three years and was hit by high fuel prices and interest rates that made auto loans costlier.
But analysts expect the car market to revive this year after the central bank last month cut rates by a more-than-expected 50 basis points — its first such step in three years — in an effort to spur growth.
Global automakers from General Motors to Toyota have been heading to India and neighbouring China seeking to boost sales as markets in most developed countries are saturated.
Car ownership remains low in India, with just 12 out of every 1,000 Indians own a vehicle compared with more than 500 out of every 1,000 people in the United States, SIAM officials say. — AFP-Relaxnews