Car sales in India fell 1.8% in September, according to the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM). It was the first decline to the market in nearly three years.

The Indian car market is being adversely impacted by rising interest rates, higher car prices and more expensive fuel. Industrial unrest that has disrpupted production at market leader Maruti Suzuki has also hit sales.

SIAM has revised down its expectations for passenger vehicle sales growth in this fiscal year (to the end of March 2012) to 4-6% from a July forecast of 10-12%.

Indian automakers sold 165,925 cars in September, SIAM said.

However, sales of commercial vehicles rose 18.05% to 70,634 in September, SIAM said, a sign that the economy is still carrying significant momentum.

Some local analysts believe that the market will get some support in the coming weeks from a raft of recent and imminent high-profile product launches in India, including models such as the Honda Brio, Nissan Sunny and Hyundai Eon.

SIAM also said that September automobile exports were 40% ahead of last year.