Maruti December sales rise 24 per cent

By Rex Mathew | 02 Jan 2007

Helped by sustained growth in the premium hatchback segment, passenger car market leader Maruti Udyog has reported a 23.7 per cent rise in total volume sales to 56,985 units for the month of December 2006, including exports of 2,345 units, as compared to 46,079 units during December 2005. On a sequential basis, sales have increased modestly by 3.55 per cent from 55,033 units reported for November 2006.

Total domestic sales for the month increased by 26.3 per cent to 54,640 units from 43,251 units a year ago. Domestic sales for the month have increased 3.93 per cent sequentially from 52,574 units during the previous month.

Maruti launched the new Zen Estilo in the premium hatchback segment or B segment, which helped sustain volume growth. The B segment, which includes models like Alto, Wagon-R, Zen Estilo and Swift, has reported an increase of 35.6 per cent to 38,461 units for the month as compared to 28,367 during December 2005. On a sequential basis, sales in this segment have increased 3.78 per cent.

The diesel version of best-selling model Swift is expected to be launched shortly. The only competition for this model is the high-end versions of the Indica from Tata Motors, which is a much older model.

A 1.3-litre common rail engine would power the diesel Swift, which would be the first such engine in this class. More competition for the diesel Swift may emerge later this year when the Fiat-Tata Motors combine launches the Grande Punto, also powered by the same common rail engine.

Sales of entry level model Maruti – 800 increased marginally to 7,289 units as compared to 7,252 units for December 2005. Sales for the month were 20.68 per cent higher than November 2006.

Maruti achieved very high growth rate in the passenger van segment for the second consecutive month. The segment recorded the highest percentage growth of 40.6 per cent after expanding 36.2 per cent during the previous month. Sales of Omni and Versa increased to 6,523 units as compared to 4,638 units for December 2005.

However, sales growth in the mid-sized sedan segment continued to decline as both models of the company in this segment are much older when compared to models by other manufacturers.

Sales of Esteem and Baleno were 13.5 per cent lower at 2,127 units as compared to 2,459 units for December 2005. The company is expected to launch a fully re-designed Baleno this year while a sedan version of the Swift may replace the Esteem.

Exports continued to decline and may not pick up till the company starts production at its new plant. Exports for the month slipped by 17.1 per cent to 2,345 units from 2,828 units for December 2005. The company is also expected to start supplying cars to Nissan for the European markets under a global alliance between Suzuki and Nissan.

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