India’s largest carmaker, Maruti Suzuki India Ltd, on Monday reported a marginal rise in domestic car sales during September, stemming a decline that lasted two consecutive months. Domestic car sales rose by 90 units to 136,876 units during September from 136,786 units in the year-ago period. These figures do not include sales of Maruti Suzuki’s Omni and Eeco vans, and light commercial vehicle Super Carry.

The local subsidiary of Suzuki Motor Corp. reported a decline in sales in July and August after several months of robust demand for its wide range of cars, on the back of erratic monsoon across the country and devastating floods in Kerala. Maruti attributes about 8% of its retail sales from the flood-stricken state.

Automakers in India consider dispatches to dealerships as sales.

Analysts had expected India’s largest carmaker to report a moderate rise sales during the month in order to build inventory ahead of the festive season beginning on 10 October, but subdued retails for the past two months (as Mint reported on 26 September) could have held back dispatches. The first 10 days of October, marking the Shraadh period, are considered inauspicious for making big-ticket purchases such as cars, gold and real estate.

For the fiscal so far, Maruti has introduced facelifts of popular models such as the Swift hatchback, DZire compact sedan and Ciaz mid-sized sedan, expecting a robust growth to end the year with a double-digit growth.

The compact car segment, which makes up the bulk of Maruti Suzuki sales, rose 1.7% to 74,011 units in September. With the exception of July and August, this segment had been reporting growth upwards of 20% in the past few months.

While sales of entry-level cars Alto and WagonR fell 9.1% to 34,971 units during the month, the sports utility vehicles (SUV) segment, including the best-selling Vitara Brezza and S-Cross models, posted a rise of 8.7% to 21,639 units over last year. Sales of the Ciaz grew 11.5% to 6,246 units in September.

However, with the onset of the festive season this month, Maruti Suzuki is expected to report a double-digit rise in sales for the fiscal and maintain its leadership position on the back of a refreshed product portfolio.

Meanwhile, Pune-based Bajaj Auto Ltd posted a 10.35% rise in domestic motorcycle sales to 273,029 units on the back of an aggressive bid to corner a larger share of India’s motorcycle market.

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