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India auto sales up 13.1% in February: industry body

14 march 2012, 11:51
©REUTERS/Babu Babu
©REUTERS/Babu Babu
New car sales in India climbed 13.1 percent year-on-year in February as the sector showed more signs of recovery from its slump in 2011, AFP reports citing an industry body.

The Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) said domestic passenger car sales rose to 211,402 last month from 186,890 at the same point in 2011.

The data marked a fourth straight monthly gain for the sector.

Discounts from auto makers, new car launches and improved demand for diesel vehicles have helped the industry bounce back from last year's downturn.

India, which has been one of the world's fastest-growing car markets, saw sales fall last year as many buyers delayed purchases or cancelled them due to costly auto loans and rising fuel costs.

However, demand has picked up since October, when sales plummeted 24.0 percent year-on-year -- the biggest dive in more than a decade.

Analysts expect car sales to keep improving in the coming months, with India's central bank expected to start lowering interest rates as inflationary pressures ease.

Sales of trucks and buses -- a key indicator of economic activity -- rose 18.7 percent to 76,891 units from 64,775 in the year-ago period, SIAM said.

SIAM forecasts car sales to grow 11-13 percent in 2012-13.

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