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Mumbai: Hyundai Motor India Ltd is ramping up production of the Creta, a compact sports utility vehicle it launched on 22 July, Rakesh Shrivastava, senior vice president, sales and marketing, said in a phone interview.

The local arm of the Korean car maker is in the process of increasing production of the model from 5,000 units a month to 6,500, Shrivastava said, and the increase will help reduce the waiting period for the model by some two months. It currently has a waiting of six to eight months, depending on the choice of variant.

Since it started accepting bookings in July, Hyundai has received close to 30,000 bookings for the Creta and despatched 6,783 units to dealers last month. Auto firms report despatches to dealers and not buyers.

Shrivastava said that close to 80% bookings are for the diesel model. Till a couple of years ago, most SUV buyers, close to 90%, would prefer a diesel, but the trend seems to be gradually shifting owing to a reduced price gap between petrol and diesel and a refined petrol engine, he said. He also attributed the shift in trend to sedan buyers used to petrol models coming into the SUV market.

Fuelled by new models, among other factors, car sales in India expanded at a brisk 17% in July, lobby group Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers said on 10 August. Sales of utility vehicles, however, dropped 0.42%.

Shrivastava said the low base of last year, when sales in July had dropped owing to buyers advancing the purchase to June in anticipation of a discontinuation of duty in the forthcoming months, was one of the key reasons for the high growth.

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