Daewoo Motors India Ltd is on target to sell 80,000 cars in 2000/01 (April-March) despite sluggish conditions in India's car industry, its chairman said on Thursday.

"The underlying conditions of the Indian economy remain good and India's total car sales should grow 15-20 percent in 2000/01," S.G. Awasthi told a news conference where he launched cheaper variants of Matiz, Daewoo's largest selling 800cc model.

"We retain our target of selling 80,000 cars in the year," he added.
Figures released on Thursday by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers showed India's car sales had grown a mere 3.5 percent in April-July 2000 after having grown a robust 54.8 percent in 1999-2000.

"The slowdown is seasonal and rebound later in the year," Awasthi said.

Daewoo India sold 19,912 cars in the first four months of 2000-01, 130.5 percent more than the 8,640 cars it sold in the same year ago period.

The increase in sales is due to the growing popularity of Matiz. Daewoo also sells the 1500cc Nexia in the mid-size segment.
Its July sales of 4,110 vehicles was 46.7 percent higher than July 1999.

Awasthi said Daewoo would make operating profits in 2000-01 but high depreciation and interest costs would push it into the red. The firm posted losses in 1999/00 as well.

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