car sales
Hyundai cars ready for shipment are parked at a port in Chennai Oct. 1, 2013. Reuters

Passenger car sales in India fell about 4 percent annually in October, while cumulative sales for the April-October period fell by 4.5 percent, as high interest rates and a slowdown in the economy continue to hurt the market, data released by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers, or SIAM, showed on Tuesday.

Auto manufacturers sold 163,199 cars in October in the country, while exports marked a 0.09 percent increase -- with 42,536 vehicles shipped out -- from the same period last year. Sales in the domestic market are expected to decline further in the current financial year ending March 2014, SIAM said, cutting its previous forecast that the sector would grow by 3.9 percent this year.

“Now the decline is moderating, so if it keeps on moderating at this pace maybe we'll see zero growth in January-February," said Vishnu Mathur, director general at SIAM. "Definitely the year will be negative," he added, according to Reuters.

The Indian automobile Industry has suffered from a slowing economy, high interest rates and rising fuel prices, all of which have put a crimp on an industry that was booming only two years ago. The country's automobile sales took a hit after a surprise move by the Reserve Bank of India in July to help the rupee tightened liquidity in the system and made auto loans dearer. And, the fall in sales in October, which typically sees heavy demand fueled by the start of a two-month festival season, took automakers by surprise.

However, data released by SIAM showed that two-wheeler sales witnessed strong growth during the month. Sales of motorcycles increased by 18 percent in October to a record high of 1.1 million units, aided by holiday season demand and strong sales in rural markets.

Sales of commercial vehicles -- trucks and buses -- were down 19.8 percent at 53,533 units from 66,722 units in the same period last year, SIAM said.