With passenger car sales declining 4.7 per cent during the first six months of the current fiscal, the sharpest decline in half-year sales since 2002-03, the industry body Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) said it was unlikely that the sector would see positive sales growth this fiscal under current economic circumstances.

During September, however, passenger car sales grew marginally by 0.73 per cent to 1,56,018 units from 1,54,884 units in the year-ago period.

“The good news is that for cars, passenger vehicles, utility vehicles and two-wheelers, September was the best month in terms of absolute numbers this fiscal. I hope we can continue with this momentum,” SIAM President Vikram Kirloskar said.

Asked if the September sales reflected a rebound in the market, he said, “It is difficult to say, but we have had a good monsoon…” Macro-economic challenges such as high interest rates, inflation and fuel prices continued to affect consumer sentiment, he added. Total two-wheeler sales in September grew 18.39 per cent to 12,65,704 units from 10,69,069 units in the same period last year, SIAM said.

Mr. Kirloskar said the commercial vehicles segment continued to struggle and their September numbers were the second-worst in more than three years. Sales of commercial vehicles were down 26.95 per cent to 51,680 units from 70,746 units a year earlier. Sales of vehicles across categories registered 11.64 per cent growth to 15,80,254 units in September from 14,15,526 units in the same month of 2012, it added.

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