Indian passenger vehicle sales passed the million unit mark in fiscal year 2003/04 for the first time, as robust gross domestic product growth and low interest rates fuelled demand.


According to Reuters, the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers said in a statement on Friday that sales of passenger vehicles rose 32.2% to 1.03 million in 2003/04 (April-March), up from 779,203 in the previous year, though this includes exports.


Domestic car sales soared 27.4% to 696,207 from 541,491 in the previous year, helped by a tax cut 14 months ago that allowed firms to cut prices by about 5%, the report said, adding that exports rose 78.4% to 125,327 units during the period.


Reuters said that 13 companies build cars, vans and utility vehicles in India, most of them units of global firms such as Suzuki, Hyundai, General Motors and Ford.


Domestic car sales in March alone jumped 11.4% to 75,482 units from 67,771 in the same month a year earlier while local sales of commercial vehicles, or trucks and buses combined, were 31,231 vehicles in March, up from 21,895 in the same month a year earlier, and domestic sales in 2003/04 rose to 260,345 from 190,682, the report said.


Reuters added that motorcycle sales in March in the world’s biggest market after China rose 31.6% to 369,309 units from 280,682 a year earlier, while sales in the full year rose to 4.1 million from 3.65 million.