Passenger car sales in India jumped 32 per cent year-on-year in January, boosted by easy financing terms and the economic recovery, an industry group said on Tuesday.

Car sales rose to 145,905 units from 110,300 in January 2009, according to data released by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM). “This is the highest-ever sales by the auto industry,” SIAM director general Dilip Chenoy told reporters. He said that “economic growth, reduced interest rates and better money supply” were key factors behind the increase. Chenoy added that the year-on-year jump was partly due to low sales figures for January 2009, under the effect of the economic slowdown.

Major manufacturers including Maruti Suzuki, Mahindra and Mahindra, Hyundai Motor Company and General Motors reported record sales in January.

Total vehicle sales, including motorcycles and trucks, increased 45 per cent year-on-year to 1,114,157 units in January, the industry body said. Car sales are expected to double by 2016 from the current annual average of about 1.8 million units, according to industry forecasts.

International car makers including Volkswagen and Ford Motor Company have been expanding their local production facilities and introducing new models in India.

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