Maruti says buyers moving from entry-level cars to compacts

In a clear indication of changing preferences among car buyers from entry level models to compact and super compact cars, India's largest car manufacturer Maruti has seen sales of its entry-level sales drop nearly 24 per cent last month as against the same month last year.

The country's penchant for utility vehicles has also been reinforced by the performance of the company in this segment with sales vaulting 1,000 per cent, fueled by the launch of the Ertiga early this year.

Maruti's sales in the mini segment (consisting of the M800, Alto, Astar and WagonR models) were down to 28,998 units in July this year as against 38,028 in the same month last year, a fall of 23.7 per cent, however sales in the compact car segment (Swift, Estilo and Ritz) surged 73.2 per cent at 15,759 units (9099 units).

The super compact segment where its Dzire model holds sway, saw a near three-fold growth to 11,413 vehicles as against 3,021 in July last year, a growth of 277.8 per cent.

The company's mid-size sedan the SX4 fared badly  with sales of only 679 units as against 2,303 units in July 2011, a fall of 70.5 per cent. The executive segment too, saw only two units of Kizashi model sold as against 32 in July last year - a decline of 93.8 per cent.

Total passenger car sales in July this year at 56,851 units were 8.3 per cent higher over the same month last year at 52,483 units.