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Auto sales slide for seventh month

Automobile sales declined for the seventh month in a row in May, as the domestic automobile industry continued to reel under the impact of high interest rates and fuel prices that deterred consumers from buying vehicles, HT reports. No relief in sight

Automobile sales declined for the seventh month in a row in May, as the domestic automobile industry continued to reel under the impact of high interest rates and fuel prices that deterred consumers from buying vehicles.

Market leader Maruti Suzuki led the slide with a 13% decline in sales at 77,821 units. Main rival Hyundai barely managed to scrape through with flat sales, while Tata Motors saw a massive 45% decline.

"The market that is at the near bottom level and is expected to move into positive growth in the coming months as the demand for the petrol cars is improving," said Rakesh Srivastava, senior vice president, Hyundai Motor India Ltd.

Toyota and Ford also reported a bad May, with Toyota's blip helping Honda to nudge to number 4 in the pecking order, riding on the demand for its entry-level sedan Amaze, launched in April.

"The market continues to be sluggish. We have corrected dealer's inventory levels ... down to less than 30 days," said Sandeep Singh, deputy MD and COO, marketing and commercial, Toyota India.

Only companies with recent new launches such as General Motors, Honda and Renault posted healthy numbers.

"The demand for Duster continues to be strong and that has helped us but the conditions are not ripe for overall industry growth," said Sumit Sawhney, executive director, Renault India. "Last month there may have been a decline of 9% in volumes. The industry urgently needs a trigger like a reduction in interest rates to restart growth."

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