India’s biggest car maker reports 15% sales rise

Sri Lankan Police forming a human chain in parliament to protect the Speaker and enable a vote.

MUMBAI, March 1, 2011 (AFP) – India’s largest car maker Maruti Suzuki reported on Tuesday a 15.5-percent rise in sales in February. Total sales rose to 111,645 cars in the month from 96,650 a year earlier, said Japanese-owned Maruti, which dominates the Indian market with a 45-percent share.

Passenger and commercial vehicle sales have been on the rise as India recovers rapidly from the global downturn and the country’s middle class enjoys increasing affluence.

Some consumers would have advanced their purchases of new cars to February because of fears of tax rises in the government budget, which was announced on Monday.

Ultimately, the government kept excise tax on automobiles unchanged, keen not to disrupt demand for cars and commercial vehicles at a time when the cost of raw materials is rising.

India’s car makers have raised the prices of their vehicles recently to offset increased prices of steel and rubber components.