Indias annual car sales fell for the first time in a decade,declining 6.69 per cent in 2012-13 on the back of a slump in disposable incomes in a slowing economy,high interest rates and inflation.
Data released Wednesday by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers showed Indians bought almost 1,36,000 fewer cars in 2012-13 from the peak of 20,31,306 units a year back. The last time sales of passenger cars had declined was in 2000-01 when it had dropped 7 per cent.
The automobile industry is one of Indias key manufacturing sectors,employing a million people directly and about 17.5 million indirectly. The sales data shows the extent of the slowdown in an industry which has drawn most major global firms to the country. It reverses an almost 30 per cent annual growth rate achieved in the past few years.
The data showed sales of Indias largest car manufacturer,Maruti Suzuki,went up marginally to 8,61,337 units,while Hyundai Motor witnessed a fall of 1.12 per cent to 3,82,851 units. Tata Motors sales dipped by 32.28 per cent to 1,74,692 units.
The only bright spot has been an increase in the demand for sports utility vehicles,which grew 52.2 per cent to 5,53,660 units.