Mumbai / New Delhi: India’s passenger car sales climbed for the first time in five months in February as lower auto loan rates spurred demand for the hatchbacks of Maruti Suzuki India Ltd, Hyundai Motor Co. and General Motors Corp.
Sales rose 22% from a year earlier to 115,386, the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (Siam) said on Monday. Ten of 13 car makers posted a gain while Renault SA, France’s second largest car maker, and Volkswagen AG’s Skoda Auto AS reported a drop.
The government-controlled State Bank of India last month cut auto loan rates to 10%.
Higher sales in India contrast with plunging demand in Japan and the US, where a recession is causing people to pare spending and forcing car makers to shut factories.
“The system is flush with funds and banks are lending more,” said Gaurav Lohia, an analyst at KR Choksey Shares and Securities Pvt. Ltd in Mumbai. “The passenger vehicle industry is surely in a process of bottoming out.”
Industry-wide passenger vehicle sales, including cars, sport-utility vehicles and vans, gained 15% to 145,019, Siam said. Commercial vehicle sales declined 32% to 31,069, the grouping said.