India’s biggest auto maker Maruti Suzuki, majority-owned by Japan’s Suzuki Motor Corp, reported on Tuesday sales edged up in April, led largely by higher demand for hatchbacks.
The Indian market leader said passenger car sales rose 3.4 percent year-on-year at 100,415 vehicles, marking a fourth straight monthly gain after demand slowed last year.
Sales in April were strongest for Maruti’s hatchbacks — the Swift, Estilo and Ritz — as well as for the larger DZire car and the company’s utility vehicles.
India, which has been one of the world’s fastest-growing car markets in recent years, suffered a slowdown in demand in 2011 as many buyers decided to defer purchases due to costly loans and rising fuel expenses.
However, demand has picked up as inflationary pressures ease.
Analysts have forecast car sales in India will continue to improve in the coming months after the central Reserve Bank of India lowered interest rates by a sharper-than-expected 50 basis points last month, to spur growth.
The Society of Automobile Manufacturers forecasts car sales will grow 10-12 percent in the new financial year which ends March 2013 after sales growth slowed to just 2.19 percent for the fiscal year ended March 31 this year.
The rise in Maruti sales came a day after the company announced its cumulative exports had crossed one million units. The company exports its cars to over 125 countries across the globe.