Maruti posts highest ever monthly sales in September

Maruti posts highest ever monthly sales in September

New Delhi: India’s largest carmaker, Maruti Suzuki India, reported Friday record monthly sales of more than 100,000 vehicles for September, driven by strong consumer demand and cheap finance deals.

Japanese-owned Maruti Suzuki India said sales jumped 29.65% to 108,006 vehicles in September from 83,306 units in the same month a year earlier.

“This is the highest ever total monthly sales by the company," Maruti said in a statement. The previous highest tally was 104,791 units in August.

The figures marked the fourth time in this financial year that the New Delhi-based company’s monthly sales figure have crossed the 100,000 mark.

“The industry continues to grow very strongly," company chairman R.C. Bhargava said ahead of the figures’ release.

India is Asia’s third-largest car market, outpaced only by China and Japan, and is one of the few countries where automobile sales are rapidly increasing.

The Maruti figures come as carmakers hike the prices of their vehicles to offset increased costs of raw materials such as steel and rubber.

Despite the rises, analysts see car sales remaining strong with the economy growing by nearly nine percent and India’s religious festival seasons looming -- seen as an auspicious time for making big-ticket purchases.

Maruti Suzuki, which holds a dominant 52% market share, forecast Thursday its sales would jump nearly 20% to 1.2 million vehicles in this fiscal year to March 2011, helped by rising disposable incomes.

The rapid sales growth has left Maruti struggling to beat capacity constraints and there are long waiting periods for its most popular models.

To meet growing demand, Maruti is ramping up annual production this month to 1.3 million vehicles from 1.2 million.

The company, 54.2% owned by Japan’s Suzuki Motors, aims to have a fourth auto factory up and running by 2013 that would boost output to 1.5 million cars a year.