India's Car Manufacturers Post Mixed Sales in July

While Hyundai and Tata Motor sales were up, Ford and GM were down.

While India's largest passenger carmaker Maruti Suzuki posted a 9% rise in monthly sales earlier this week, its rivals showed mostly weak sales, amid hefty taxes, elevated fuel prices and stubborn inflation that has kept interest rates high, pushing up the cost of vehicle loans.

The local unit of Hyundai Motor IIW1000/27), which mostly sells petrol vehicles, reported a 1.5% decline in local sales to 49,667 vehicles in July.

Ford (IW 1000/16) India domestic sales slid 16.8% to 6,236 vehicles in July, while General Motors (IW 1000/13) in India fell 23.3% to 7,285 units.

Ford India said the country's auto market conditions remained "challenging" as consumer confidence is yet to recover from the effects of a recent hike in petrol prices, ongoing high interest rates and inflation.

Ford India's president Michael Boneham said he expects the "difficult market situation to ultimately recede in the long run."

Tata Motors, which owns British luxury brands Jaguar and Land Rover, bucked the trend, as its July car sales surged 53% to 26,240 units, with growth seen across all segments.

India, which has been one of the world's fastest-growing car markets in recent years, has been suffering a slowdown in demand as some buyers defer purchases due to expensive loans and high fuel costs.

The Society of Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) forecasts car sales will grow by 9% to 11% in the current financial year, which ends next March, on hopes that possible interest rate cuts will make auto loans cheaper and spur demand.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012

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