March auto sales in India were affected by the economy’s slowdown, but sales of SUVs continued to surpass those of other segments.

Tata, which is the biggest automaker by sales in India, reported sales in March down 28% to 72,712 units, with local sales down 27% to 69,160 vehicles and exports down 34% to 3,552 vehicles. The automaker’s passenger vehicle sales fell 68% to 12,347 units. Mahindra, which is the largest SUV producer in India, reported sales up 11% last month to 51,904 units, with SUV sales up13% to 25,847 units.

Renault India saw its sales increase to 8,232 units last month from 1,005 units in March 2012, with the Duster accounting for 6,313 units from the total sales. Toyota India reported an increase of 6.8% to 19,452 units, exports accounting for 1,691 units of the total number.

Beginning with March 1st, the government increased the factory tax on locally manufactured SUVs by 3.0 3.0 percentage points reaching 30%, to reduce the surge in SUV sales in the country amid increasing criticism about the use of subsidized diesel by such vehicles. To counter the increased tax, automakers such as Mahindra have also rose prices for their vehicles.


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