India Auto Sales Industry Records Biggest Drop In 12 Years As Figures Plunge 26 Percent From Year Earlier

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India Auto Sales
India logged its biggest drop in car sales in 12 years as figures downgraded nearly 26 percent in February 2012 from a year earlier, according to the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers.

India logged its biggest drop in car sales in 12 years as figures downgraded nearly 26 percent in February 2012 from a year earlier, according to the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers.

The country’s total auto sales, seen by many a key reference to overall economic health, slid for the fourth straight month, bringing sales down 158,513 vehicles, industry figures showed.

With one month left to report in the financial year, SIAM forecast annual sales would shrink for the first time since 2002-03.

"It is now clear that there will be a decline for the whole fiscal [year]. We only hope March numbers will lessen the decline somewhat. ... We don't really see any change in the conditions yet," Sugato Sen, deputy director general at SIAM told The Wall Street Journal.

While sales of trucks and buses fell 35 percent to 21,498 units, trucks are the most popular means of carrying goods and commodities and a decline in sales is further evidence of weaker economic activity.

Further numbers indicate that SUV sales in February rose 35 percent to 47,859 units, while sales of motorcycles -- the cheapest and highest-selling mode of personal transport in India -- fell 4 percent to 800,185 units.

As figures show that India’s car sales grew at a rapid pace in the previous decade, prompting the ever-growing presence of automakers such as Ford (NYSE: F), General Motors (NYSE: GM) and others, sales have been declining over the past couple of years with the weakening economy weighing on demand.

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