Domestic passenger car sales fell by 12.45% at 173,420 units in January, the third consecutive decline monthly, raising chances of the industry recording a fall in sales in a fiscal for the first time in over a decade.
Car makers are now waiting for sops like reduction in excise duties and introduction of special schemes in the upcoming annual budget later this month.
A decline in sales may finally take the sheen off India's shining automobile market. Already, a number of manufacturers have put their investment plans on hold and may ultimately not invest at all if demand worsens.
"The overall economic situation is low and consumer sentiments are deeply negative despite the recent notional rate cuts by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI)," said Vishnu Mathur, director-general, Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM). "If things don't improve, there maybe an actual slowdown in investments in the sector."
Car sales are down 1.8% this year so far and needs a miracle or a very generous budget to record a growth by the end of March. It looks set to miss SIAM's own target of 0-1% growth rate for current fiscal.
The sale of passenger vehicles declined by 4.62% in January. The only saviour was two wheelers whose sales grew by 8.5% during the month, helping a 5.3% growth in overall auto sale.