New Delhi: A more than expected slowdown in car sales has forced industry body the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers to cut its growth forecast for the fiscal 2012-13 for the third time to between zero to one per cent — down from the first ambitious estimation of upto 12 per cent.
A one per cent growth during the fiscal would mean car sales would be at a nine-year low.
Car sales fell 12.51 per cent in December as a slower economic growth and high interest rates hit consumer sentiments.
“We do not think the industry will be able to recover in the fourth quarter (January-March) unless government extends full support,” said Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) president S. Sandilya.
The industry is expected to ask the government to slash duties to help the car industry to come out of the slump.
“Interest rates are still high. Even fuel prices are on the higher side,” said Mr Sandilya, adding that the borrowing costs are high with NBFCs charging 15.3 per cent interest rates and 11.4 per cent by the nationalised banks.
He said the excise duty on automobiles, which was increased in the last year budget, needs to be reduced, particularly on commercial vehicles.