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India's monthly passenger vehicle sales drop most in 7-1/2 years

Hyundai cars ready for shipment are parked at a port in Chennai October 1, 2013. REUTERS/Babu/Files

NEW DELHI/BENGALURU (Reuters) - Passenger vehicle sales in India dropped 17% in April - their worst monthly fall in nearly eight years, data from an industry body showed on Monday, as weak sentiment, high insurance costs and a liquidity crunch dented car sales.

Sales of passenger vehicles dived to 247,541 in April versus 298,504 a year earlier, data released by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers showed. Two-wheeler sales dropped 16.4% to about 1.6 million vehicles.

Last month, the country’s biggest automaker Maruti Suzuki Ltd said it sold 458,479 vehicles in the three months ended March 31, down 0.7 percent on-year, and forecast a weak rate of growth for the current fiscal year.

Reporting by Aditi Shah in New Delhi and Chris Thomas in Bengaluru, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips