Sales of passenger vehicles to car dealers fell 30.9 per cent to 200,790 units in July, according to data shared by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), amid a deepening crisis in the country’s automobile sector.

Commercial vehicles sales fell 25.7 per cent to 56,866 units, SIAM said.

Motorcycle and scooters sales fell 16.8 per cent to about 1.51 million units, while passenger car sales fell 36 per cent to 122,956 units, according to data quoted by Reuters.

The overall automobile sales in India is down by 18.71 per cent in July with the industry witnessing nearly nine months of continuous decline in sales.

The total vehicle, including two and three-wheelers, sales were 18,25,148 as compared to 22,45,223 vehicles sold in July 2018.

Around two lakh jobs have been cut across automobile dealerships in India in the last three months as vehicle retailers take the last resort of cutting manpower to tide over the impact of the unprecedented sales slump, according to industry body FADA.

With no immediate signs of recovery, the Federation of Automobile Dealers Associations (FADA) feared that the job cuts may continue with more showrooms being shut in the near future and sought immediate government intervention such as reduction of GST to provide relief to the auto industry.

“The majority of job cuts have happened in the last three months…It started around May and continued through June and July,” FADA President Ashish Harsharaj Kale told PTI.

Auto companies, which feel that the GST rate of 28 per cent plus cess is hurting sales, have been demanding a reduction, at least temporarily.

The Automotive Component Manufacturers Association of India (ACMA) has sought immediate government intervention such as slashing GST to stimulate demand. It has sought a uniform GST of 18 per cent for the entire automobile sector in order to revive the declining vertical.

The industry body alone employs around 5 million people in India.

The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council had in December retained automobile components in the highest slab of 28 per cent. The tax rates on this could not be cut due to the high revenue implication.

The new tax rates came into effect from January 1 this year.

With the current situation, auto sector employees have sought government’s intervention through relief measures for the industry dented by truncating demand.