India’s passenger vehicle sales fall by most since 2011 in April

NEW DELHI, NNA – Passenger vehicle sales in India posted the sixth straight month of year-on-year declines in April, plunging by the most in more than seven years on higher insurance costs, tighter lending and uncertainty over election results.

The Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) released the latest monthly data Monday.

Key points:

-- Passenger vehicle sales tumbled 17.1 percent to 247,541 units in April from a year earlier, the steepest drop since October 2011, when sales fell 19.9 percent. The pace of decline accelerated from 3 percent in March. Sales for passenger cars, utility vehicles and vans decreased 19.9 percent, 6.7 percent and 30.1 percent, respectively.

-- Commercial vehicles sales fell 6 percent.

-- Overall consumer sentiment on buying durable goods and spending on tourism is sluggish, SIAM director general Vishnu Mathur told reporters. In addition, vehicle insurance premiums have risen since stricter coverage rules took effect last September, lending by non-bank financial firms is tighter amid low market liquidity and there is uncertainty over the outcome of India’s general election, he said. Voting began on April 11 and the results are due on May 23.

Takeaway:

-- The near-term outlook for new car sales continues to be negative in the absence of positive triggers for retail sales, according to the Federation of Automobile Dealers Associations.

-- “Despite the current negative retail situation, which we expect to continue for the next 8 to 12 weeks, we still believe that the outlook for auto retail can soon turn positive if a stable government with continued development focus comes to power, among other factors,” the industry group said in a statement last week.

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