Domestic car sales fell 15.76 per cent in July, for the first time after 30 months of continuous growth, mainly due to the hike in interest rates, high fuel prices and lower production by Maruti Suzuki.
Domestic passenger car sale stood at 1,33,747 units in July 2011 from 158,767 units a year earlier, the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), said.
''This is the first time since January 2009 that car sales have fallen and the onus lies with rising interest rates and fuel prices, besides Maruti lowering production,'' the SIAM director-general, Vishnu Mathur, told reporters.
Maruti's Manesar facility was undergoing renovation for the new Swift and realignment of its Dzire model's output which resulted in production loss. ''The nearly 22,000 decline in sales numbers is because of this single reason,'' Mathur added
Maruti Suzuki India's sales dipped 31.04 per cent to 52,483 units; Tata Motors' sales declined 43.13 per cent at 13,997 units, while Hyundai Motor's sales fell 11.49 per cent to 25,501 units.
On SIAM's outlook for the future, Mathur said, ''There are good many car launches lined up. Hopefully, they should spur the market. Also, if crude continues to soften, we can expect a rebound.''