Mumbai: Maruti Suzuki India Ltd’s domestic sales rose 6.8% in September over the same month last year, the company said in a filing to the stock exchanges on Friday.

It sold 106,083 units last month as compared to 99,290 units a year ago, said the local arm of the Japanese car maker. A 3.5% growth in the company’s compact car models such as Swift, Ritz, Celerio and Dzire models and a 6% increase in its utility vehicle segment, where it sells the Ertiga, Gypsy and S-Cross models, led the overall volumes.

Entry-level models such as Alto and Wagon R reported flat volumes at 35,570 units as compared to 35,547 units a year ago, indicating that new models continue to rule the market. It also reflects the tepid buying behaviour of first-time buyers.

A Maruti Suzuki spokesperson said sales in September are not strictly comparable to last year as the Hindu festival of Navratra, which is a big draw for buyers, began on 25 September last year, whereas end-September this year was marked by Shraadh, which is considered an inauspicious period for any big-ticket purchase.

The company’s exports fell sharply by 26% to 6,767 units compared to last year.

Auto sales in India have been advancing month-on-month for the last nine months on the back of economic recovery and improving sentiments.

A half-a-percentage-point rate cut by the Reserve Bank of India on 29 September is likely to translate into cheaper auto loans, which coupled with the festive season beginning next month is expected to boost sales for auto firms.

Maruti’s shares dropped 1.70% to 4,609.35 on the BSE at 10.54am. The benchmark Sensex index was up 0.16%.

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