Mumbai: New model launches and the festive season has driven up domestic sales for market leader Maruti Suzuki India Ltd by 24% to a record 121,063 units over last year, the company said in a statement on 2 November.

The volumes were led by robust growth in compact car models, including Swift, Ritz, Celerio, Dzire and the recently launched Baleno. Combined sales of these models went up 37.7% to 51,048 units over a year ago. The company has received bookings for close to 10,000 units of Baleno, said the company spokesperson.

The spokesperson also attributed the strong sales during the month to higher despatches to dealerships ahead of Diwali. Auto firms in India report despatches to dealers and not end buyers.

On the back of an aggressive sales push by the company during Navratra and Dussehra, sales of entry-level models, including the Wagon R and Alto, too increased 5.2% to 37,595 units over a year ago. Sales of utility vehicles at the local arm of the Japanese car maker also increased 56.5% to 9,435 units. These included the Gypsy, Grand Vitara and Ertiga models.

Sales of mid-size sedans, including the SX4 and the recently launched S-Cross models, however dropped 7.2% to 5,890 units over last year, following tepid response to S-Cross.

Albeit on a low base, exports during the month jumped 90% to 13,146 units as the company was able to resolve shipment-related issues, said the spokesperson.

Car sales have been buoyed by new models and the festive season which started with Ganesh Chaturthi on 17 September. Benign fuel prices coupled with an interest cut also helped sentiments. The real picture, however, will emerge from early next year once the festivals dry up and the fizz from new models settles.

At 11:12am, shares of Maruti were up 0.92% to 4,489.60, which the benchmark Sensex index was down 0.50%.

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