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Auto Sales continue to move in reverse gear

NEW DELHI: Passenger car sales shrank by double digits for the third straight month in June as buyers continued to be put off by higher interest costs following the nonbank lending crisis and by rising automobile prices.

The end of election uncertainty in May did not revive Motown’s spirits and the numbers could increase pressure on the Narendra Modi-led NDA government to open the purse strings in this week’s budget to spur lending and growth. Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman will present her first budget and the Modi government’s seventh on Friday amid a sharp consumption slowdown.

The motor industry estimates that passenger vehicle sales fell by about 19% to 222,000 units in June, the third straight month of double-digit declines. Vehicle sales had fallen 17% in April and 20.5% in May.