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Indian Vehicle Sales Rise 17 Percent In September

India's auto sales rose 17.1 percent in September from a year earlier to 212,975 vehicles, as holiday buying, easier credit and rising consumer confidence fueled growth in India's auto sector.

Sales of passenger cars rose 20.6 percent, to 129,683 units, while the recovery in commercial vehicle sales gathered pace, with growth of 6.5 percent, to 45,451 units, the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers said

This marks the eighth month of recovery for Indian car sales, which began to turn in February thanks to government stimulus measures and resilient domestic demand. So far this fiscal year, from April through September, car sales are up 14.7 percent over last year, beating industry expectations.

Global automakers like Ford, General Motors and Nissan have been pushing into India's small but fast-growing auto market, hoping to secure a foothold for future growth and a new base for low-cost manufacturing.

"September was another good month for auto sales due to increasing finance availability, improved consumer sentiments and new product launches," Macquarie analyst Sanjay Doshi wrote in a research note. "We expect sales to remain robust during the ongoing festive season."

Exports also grew as rising car exports masked a steep fall in commercial vehicle shipments. Passenger vehicle exports rose 21.6 percent, to 38,992 units, while commercial vehicle exports fell 24.3 percent, to 3,839 units.

Market leader Maruti Suzuki posted domestic sales growth of 17.3 percent in September, while exports surged 85.4 percent, driven by overseas demand for the popular A-Star compact.

Tata Motors, India's largest commercial vehicle maker, reported 5.8 percent growth in total volumes, but suffered from a 36 percent drop in exports of goods carriers, to 962 units.

Most Indians, however, still prefer two-wheelers: Motorcycle sales grew 6.3 percent, to 838,150 vehicles, and exports rose 8.8 percent, to 95,562 vehicles.