Domestic passenger car sales slumped by almost 16% in July - the first monthly dip since January 2009 - to just 133,747 units as the big three, Maruti, Hyundai and Tata, together posted a double-digit decline in sales, bearing the brunt of low consumer demand for cars on the back of successive fuel price and interest rate hikes.It was also the steepest fall since November 2008 when sales had slumped by over 19% but while it had prompted the government to announce a stimulus package then, there is likely to be no encore this year.
The worker's strike at Maruti's Manesar plant that produces bestsellers like Swift and Dzire, in June and the subsequent suspension of sales of the Swift, which will be relaunched in a facelifted avatar later this month, are the major reasons
that led to Maruti suffering its worst fall ever in a month- over 31%.
"Things can only improve from here onwards," said Vishnu Mathur, director general, Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM). "People want cars, they want mobility, but they may be postponing their purchases hoping interest rates will go down."
However, two-wheeler sales up by 12.6% in July 2011, while sales of commercial vehicles jumped by 23.7% year-on year.