Mumbai (Agencies): Rising interest rates, increasing fuel prices and input costs have the potential to hit the Indian auto sector's growth which could diminish at around 14-15% in 2011 in comparison to 31% in 2010, a top industry official has said. The industry had grown at 23-24% in 2009 in spite of the global economic slowdown.

"High input costs and rising fuel prices coupled with a steady hike in interest rates would affect sales this year for the overall industry. However, we (GM) don't expect any contraction," said General Motors India vice president, corporate affairs, A Balendran.

GM India's sales grew a meager 6% in January this year to 9,984 units from 9,421 units in the same month of the previous year. It hopes a similar sale in February as well, Balendran said.

"Market sentiment is very low at this point. There are concerns like the economic slowdown, (tight) liquidity and inflation. These are not very good signs for the auto industry. It would make the products costlier."

Crude oil prices have reached $100 per barrel thus making petrol dearer for consumers, Balendran said, adding prices are likely to rise further.

The country's largest car-maker, Maruti Suzuki, had recently said it fears a drop in requirement for the auto sector in FY 12 driven by factors like high inflation, rate hikes and high fuel prices.