New vehicle sales in India fell by close to 14% to 310,186 units in February 2020 from already weak sales of 359,679 units in the same period of last year, according to data released by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM).

The vehicle market had already weakened significantly over the last year as economic growth in the country slowed to 5.2% in 2019 from 6.6% in 2018.

Overall vehicle sales, including imports, are estimated to have declined by almost 11% to 3.87m units last year from 4.34m units in 2018.

The SIAM data, covering mainly domestic producers, shows sales of passenger vehicles fell by 7.6% to 251,516 units in February, from 272,243 units a year earlier, while commercial vehicle sales plunged by 32.9% to 58,670 units from 87,436 units.

Maruti Suzuki reported a 2.3% sales drop to 133,702 vehicles last month while Hyundai's sales fell by 7% to 40,010 units and the recently launched Kia brand sold 15,644 units.

Overall sales in the current fiscal year, in the 11 months between April 2019 and February 2020, were down by 16.2% at 3,337,326 units from 3,983,817 in the same period a year earlier.

Passenger vehicles sales were down by 14.7% at 2,632,665 units in this period while commercial vehicles sales dropped by 21.6% to 704,661 units.

SIAM president Rajan Wadhera said in a statement "the decline in vehicle wholesales is primarily due to a slowdown in economic growth and lower production of BS IV (emission standard) vehicles. 

Wadhera also said the global COVID19 coronavirus pandemic may affect vehicle sales in the coming months.

"Supply chain disruption in China is also a concern which may impact the production plans for companies going forward".