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Festive sales drive Maruti net

New Delhi, Oct. 24: Buoyed by robust sales during the festive season, Maruti Suzuki India today reported a 93 per cent increase in second-quarter net profit at Rs 570 crore compared with Rs 296.12 crore in the same period a year ago.

The company’s good performance during the quarter was helped by low interest rates, cheaper availability of finances and low inflation rate.

“On volumes, the company remains cautiously optimistic in the near future. Margins in the future may be under pressure because of hardening of commodity prices and strengthening of the yen,” the company said in a statement.

Suzuki is planning to introduce new models in India — its biggest market — as rising income levels mean more first-time car buyers offsetting the declining demand in Japan. A new sedan — Maruti Kizashi — is likely to be launched by early 2010.

The car was first unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2007 and later at the 9th Auto Expo in Delhi last year.

The premium car is expected to be priced around Rs 10 lakh and will compete with the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla Altis, Hyundai Sonata, Skoda Octavia and the Volkswagen Jetta.

Net sales of the car maker grew 47 per cent in the second quarter ended September 30 at Rs 7,049 crore. The company sold 22 per cent more cars during the period under review. It also reported a 46.67 per cent jump in net sales for the quarter ended September 30 at Rs 7,049.58 crore against Rs 4,806.26 crore during the corresponding quarter of 2008-09.

Maruti’s sales of models such as the Alto, Wagon-R, Zen, Swift, A-star and the Ritz grew 29.7 per cent compared with the year-ago period. Sales of the SX4 and the DZire grew 28.8 per cent.

Maruti sold 246,188 cars, vans and sport-utility vehicles in the three months ended September compared with 189,451 units a year earlier.

The company’s market share in the passenger car segment moved up from 54.2 per cent to 54.9 per cent in the second quarter of the fiscal.

Exports during the period under review jumped 109 per cent to 37,105 units from 17,745 units in the year-ago period.

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