Mumbai: Maruti Suzuki India Ltd’s domestic sales in July rose to a record 13.9% to 12,5778 units over the year-ago period, the company said in a statement on Monday. Led by Baleno hatchback, which sold 10,000 units during the month, the company’s compact car volumes advanced 4.1% to 50,362 units.

In contrast to previous years, the hatchback segment, which also includes Swift, Ritz, Dzire models, now accounts for a bigger chunk in the carmaker’s total sales.

Sales of Maruti’s entry-level models such as Wagon R and Alto, which used to drive the overall sales until a year ago, continued the downhill trend, dropping 7.2% to 35,051 units as compared to the same month last year.

The contraction in the entry-level models dragged down company’s overall passenger car sales advancing only 2.2% to 93,634 units over the same period last year.

The Vitara Brezza continued the strong volume run catapulting the utility vehicle sales to 17,382 units against 6,916 units a year ago. Exports during the month remained flat at 11,338 units against 11,307 units.

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Led by compact SUV models, passenger vehicle sales in India have advanced for 12 straight months even as car sales have been weakening due to shift in consumer preference.

The payout of the seventh pay commission, which is set to raise the disposable income of government employees, coupled with other factors such as a good monsoon and the festive season, which starts in October, is expected to be a strong driver for passenger vehicles’ sales in Asia’s fastest-growing auto market.

At 11.30am, Maruti’s shares were up 2.41% to 4,870, the Sensex was up 0.56% to 28,208.24 points.

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