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Maruti Dec Vehicle Sales Up 23%

03-January-2004
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Maruti Dec Vehicle Sales Up 23%

Sales for Maruti Udyog Ltd jumped 23.2 per cent in December from a year ago, the company said on Friday, spurred by a tax cut 10 months ago and robust domestic economic growth.

Maruti, 54.2 per cent owned by Japan’s Suzuki Motor Corp, said domestic sales rose 22.3 per cent in December to 33,343 vehicles and exports 31.7 per cent to 3,748 for a total of 37,091 vehicles from 30,107 in December last year. Sales in April-December, the first nine months of fiscal 2003-04, rose 30.3 percent to 3,28,019 vehicles from 2,51,797 a year earlier.

Car sales have powered ahead since March after February’s federal budget cut production tax on cars and utility vehicles to 24 per cent from 32, allowing all automakers to cut sticker prices by more than five per cent. A booming economy — expected to grow more than seven per cent this fiscal year — and interest rates near three-decade lows lows have also boosted sales. The automaker, which completed a blockbuster IPO in June, has a 50.6 per cent share of the domestic car market helped by its small, low-price cars. It makes 10 models in India and imports one fully built model from Japan. Maruti said in a statement domestic sales of its mini Maruti 800, India’s top-selling car, rose 12.1 per cent in the month to 13,641 units while combined sales of its Omni and Versa vans jumped 18.4 per cent to 4,323.

The company sold 13,918 units of its three compact cars — the Alto, Zen and Wagon R — up 34.6 per cent from a year ago.

Sales of its Baleno and Esteem sedans grew 42.4 per cent to 1,333 but for the Gypsy and Vitara multi-utility vehicles crashed 22.9 per cent to 128 units. Maruti, which mainly competes with the local units of Hyundai, Fiat, Ford and local firm Tata Motors, sold 3,62,253 vehicles in the past year to March.

Its shares were up 2.08 per cent at Rs 382.7 on Friday at The Stock Exchange, Mumbai (BSE) having more than trebled from their IPO price of Rs 125.

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