Cheap loans boost India car sales in January

NEW DELHI, February 9, 2010 (AFP) – India’s car sales rose more than 32 percent year on year in January as demand was boosted by cheap loans and an economic recovery, an industry group said Tuesday. Domestic passenger car sales rose to 145,905 units from 110,300 in the same month last year, according to the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM).

Motorcycle sales grew even faster, jumping 43.69 percent to 650,633 units from 452,809 in January 2008.

Sales of trucks and buses — seen as a key indicator of economic activity — increased 131 percent to 53,447 units.

Total sale of vehicles in all categories increased 45 percent to 1,114,157 units in January, the industry body added.

An economic rebound, spurred by government stimulus and easier bank loans, explained the sharp rise in sales, analysts say.

India is one of the few global markets displaying robust car sales growth.

Foreign automobile giants such as General Motors and Volkswagen have been ramping up production in the country as they eye the explosive expansion of the Indian car market, Asia’s third biggest.

Car sales are forecast to double by 2016 from current levels of about 1.8 millio