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A total of 7,26,232 passenger vehicles - including passenger cars and utility vehicles - were sold in the quarter ended September 30, 2020, as against 6,20,620 in the quarter ended September 30, 2019.
The data comes at a time when India has been the worst hit by the pandemic among major economies as new infections continue to rise. Many economists have predicted the country to suffer its worst annual contraction in four decades, with a pickup expected only in the March quarter.
Sales of passenger cars increased 16 per cent in the July-September period. A total of 4,26,316 cars were sold in the quarter, compared to 3,67,696 in the year-ago period.
Sales of commercial vehicles, however, declined 20 per cent to 1,33,524 units, the data showed.
"Some segments have shown signs of recovery... We are expecting good demand in the festive season starting tomorrow," said Kenichi Ayukawa, president, SIAM, commenting on the quarterly figures.
In the two-wheeler segment, sales increased marginally to 46,90,565 vehicles in the quarter, from 46,82,571 last year.
"Thanks to government intervention, auto loan interest rates are below 8 per cent, the lowest in a decade and that should encourage customers to purchase new vehicles. Commercial vehicle and three-wheeler sales are still in the negative growth zone," he said.
Total production of passenger vehicles fell 2.74 per cent to 8,40,004 units, on the back of an 11.3 per cent drop in the passenger car segment.
Exports plummeted 41.96 per cent to 1,11,555 passenger vehicles.
Last month, domestic sales went up 26.45 per cent to 2,72,027 passenger vehicles, from 2,15,124 in September 2019. Car sales increased 29 per cent to 1,27,194 units in the month.