Car sales continued their robust drive in September as pre-festive inventories and newer models pushed up demand to a new high. Sales volumes grew 30% to 169,082 units, scaling the previous highs for third month in a row. According to the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (Siam), sales are expected to remain strong this year and the market will grow faster than previously forecast. Passenger vehicle sales, which include cars and utility vehicles, are now forecast to grow 21-23% by the end of this fiscal against the earlier prediction of 12-13%, Siam president Pawan Goenka said. A slew of new models as well as lower interest rates have seen demand for new cars shooting up in the domestic market. Also, high consumer confidence on the back of healthy economic recovery and surging stock markets have helped maintain the tempo. Analysts expect sales to remain strong over the next two months as purchases peak during the year-end festive season. The September sales outpaced August’s record sales of 160,794 units and July’s figure of 158,674. Overall, sales have gained 34% during the April-September period to 922,281 units. Companies are also grappling with the issue of long waiting periods as they move to ramp up production capacities. Maruti, Hyundai, Ford and General Motors are among carmakers that have been ramping up production capacity to meet the surge in demand. Two-wheeler and commercial vehicle sales were also strong as the growth seems to be evenly spread across segments. Motorcycle sales also hit a record at 7,78,352 units, up 15.50% from the 6,73,893 units sold in September last year. It beat the previous high of 7,27,542 units achieved in August this year.