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July 03, 2012 12:00:00 AM
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India's largest passenger car maker Maruti Suzuki reported improved monthly sales on Monday, though rivals showed declining business on high taxes and fuel prices.

Maruti Suzuki India, majority-owned by Japan's Suzuki Motor Corp, said passenger car sales in June rose 19.3 percent year-on-year at 83,531 vehicles, after demand had slowed last year.

Maruti's compact cars and utility vehicles both showed improved sales as the firm increased production of diesel-powered cars.

Diesel fuel, widely used to transport goods and services across India, is priced about 40 percent cheaper than petrol.

While petrol prices have been deregulated, the government has kept diesel at below-market prices.

The local unit of Hyundai Motor, which mostly sells petrol vehicles, posted flat local sales at 30,450 vehicles in June.

Ford India domestic sales slid 11 percent to 6,257 vehicles in June while General Motors in India also fell 11 percent to 7,364 units.

Tata Motors' June car sales were down 22 percent at 17,244 units.

Last month, Tata Motors and General Motors halted production at some factories to reduce stock-piling.

"While the market continues to face difficult challenges, these are only cyclical and we are confident of the long term outlook," said Michael Boneham, president and managing director of Ford India.

India, which has been one of the world's fastest-growing car markets in recent years, suffered a slowdown in demand in 2011 as many buyers decided to defer purchases due to costly loans and high fuel expenses.

The Society of Automobile Manufacturers forecasts car sales will grow 10-12 percent in the current financial year, which ends March 2013.

AFP


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