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|March 30, 2000||
Maruti posts record 20 per cent rise in sales
India's largest car-maker Maruti Udyog Limited reported a 20 per cent rise in sales on Thursday to a record 400,000 cars for the fiscal year ending March 31.
Maruti, a 50-50 joint venture between Japan's Suzuki Motor Corporation and the Indian government, said monthly sales in March had also set a record with 43,000 cars. The previous high was 38,322 cars sold in August 1999.
The company sold 333,000 cars in fiscal 1998-99.
"We are very happy to have raced past our sales targets despite heated competition. Last night, we crossed the magical sales figure of 400,000 units," Maruti Udyog's chief general manager Rohtash Mal said.
"We have booked record sales because we upgraded the entire product range and expanded our sales and service network," Mal said.
Mal said the company had invested over Rs 10 billion in upgrading its product line, adding that it had launched two new models in quick succession to stay ahead of the competition.
The company unveiled a 1600cc runabout named 'Baleno' last November and a multi-utility vehicle, the Wagon R, in February.
Maruti plans to launch another new model, the Alto, by May this year.
"This year we have done much better. The cake is getting bigger and we are selling whatever we have been producing. Our bottom line is certainly going to improve," Mal said.
Car-makers in India are finally steering their way out of the doldrums following the country's economic recovery after a three-year slowdown.
"This year, we expect the passenger car market to see a sales volume growth of between 10 and 15 per cent," said Darius Lam, an analyst at domestic brokerage Alchemy Equities.
India's car sector was opened to foreign companies following market reforms launched in 1991. The market had been dominated for over four decades by antiquated versions of British cars and from the 1980s by Maruti-Suzuki, which has more than two-thirds of the market.
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