Passenger vehicle sales rose for the first time in 12 months in October, albeit a marginal 0.28%, PTI reported, quoting data from the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers. The slowdown so far was one of the worst to have disrupted the automobile industry since the collection of data on vehicle sales started in 1997.

Sales of passenger vehicles – which comprise passenger cars, utility vehicles and vans – rose to 2,85,027 units in October from 2,84,223 units in the same month in 2018. However, vehicles in almost all passenger and commercial categories continued to decline, barring utility vehicles, passenger carriers and quadricycles.

Car sales were down 6.34% to 1,73,649 units, while motorcycle sales declined 15.88% to 11,16,970 units. Sales of two-wheelers declined 14.43% to 17,57,264 units in October. Sales of commercial vehicles were down 23.31% at 66,773 units in October.

Total vehicle sales – passenger vehicles as well as two-wheelers and commercial vehicles – declined 12.76% on year to 21,76,136 units.

The automobile industry has been in crisis, with 15,000 jobs lost in the previous quarter and hundreds of dealerships closed in the last year. The decline in consumer confidence, coupled with a crisis in non-banking finance companies, have caused a steep fall in passenger car sales.

In September, passenger vehicle sales fell for the 11th straight month, registering a 23.7% decline.