NEW DELHI -- India's biggest carmaker, Maruti Udyog Ltd., reported a modest rise in July vehicle sales on Monday, as a 38 percent drop in exports blunted a 10 percent jump in domestic sales.
Maruti, 54.2 percent owned by Japan's Suzuki Motor Corp., said in a statement it sold 40,175 vehicles in the domestic market in July and exported of 3,244 units.
Total sales climbed 4 percent to 43,419 units from 41,781 a year ago, and were 9.7 percent higher than in the previous month. Sales in April-July, the first four months of the business year, rose 14.6 percent to 167,043 vehicles from the year-ago period.
The New Delhi-based firm, which has a 48 percent share of India's passenger vehicle market, reported a 30.3 percent rise in sales in the business year to March, helped by robust economic growth, three-decade low interest rates and a product tax cut.
Maruti, which mainly competes with the local unit of Hyundai Motor Co. and local firm Tata Motors Ltd., said domestic sales of its mini Maruti 800, India's top-selling car until a few months ago, fell 41.7 percent to 9,554 units.
Sales of the Maruti 800 have been falling since April when the company introduced a cut-price version of the Alto.
Total sales of its three compact cars -- the Alto, Zen and Wagon R -- jumped 67.1 percent to 22,833 units while the combined sales of its Omni and Versa vans rose 1.3 percent to 5,119 vehicles.
Sales of its Baleno and Esteem sedans jumped 84.6 percent to 2,335 after the company introduced a new-look Esteem in July while those of the Gypsy and Vitara multi-utility vehicles more than doubled to 334 units.
Maruti's shares were up nearly a percent at 427.8 rupees at the Bombay Stock Exchange. The benchmark index was up 0.35 percent then.
The shares have more than trebled since Maruti listed in July 2003 after a blockbuster IPO as part of a government privatization plan.
Analysts expect Maruti to gain from robust future demand in India, spurred by an improving road network, inadequate public transport and a low ownership level of eight cars per 1,000 people.
Its total vehicle sales are expected to rise 15-19 percent in the business year to March 2005 from the previous year's 472,122 units. Exports are expected to remain flat from the previous year's 51,175 vehicles.