India car sales rise 30.5 percent in May

Chandi Dharmaratne

MUMBAI, June 9, 2010 (AFP) – Car sales in India jumped 30.5 percent year-on-year in May, industry data showed on Wednesday, as new launches boosted demand. A total of 148,481 vehicles were sold in May, up from 113,810 a year earlier, data from the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) showed.

Market leader Maruti Suzuki continued to post higher sales of hatchbacks A-Star, Ritz and Swift along with rival Hyundai, whose sales for the i10 and i20 also rose.

Other car makers Ford Motors, General Motors and Volkswagen AG also saw demand for their new launches rise.

Car sales have been on the rise in Asia’s third-largest automobile market due to inexpensive loans, new models and a recovery in demand.

Sales for India’s largest passenger car maker Maruti Suzuki rose 21 percent to 76,120 cars in May from a year earlier.

Hyundai, which trails Maruti in sales, sold 27,151 cars in May, up 15.5 percent from a year earlier.

Sales of trucks and buses, a barometer of economic activity, rocketed by 58 percent to 48,580 units in May, SIAM said.

The Indian auto market is forecast to triple over the next decade to six m