A worker cleans Maruti Suzuki Swift Dzire car at the stockyard at Sanand in Gujarat
INDIA’S biggest carmaker Maruti Suzuki on Tuesday (October 30) reported a 5.4 per cent fall in quarterly profit, its fifth straight such dip, after it was hit by production losses due to deadly labour unrest.
Maruti said net profit fell to Rs2.27bn ($42m/£26.11m) in the three months to September, down from 2.4 billion rupees a year earlier and lower than market forecasts.
Analysts had expected Maruti, 54.2 per cent owned by Japan’s Suzuki Motor, to post a net profit of Rs2.5bn ($46/£28.78m).
Maruti is trying to recover from its worst-ever labour unrest in July, in which a manager died and nearly 100 other executives were hurt at one of its main plants.
The lockout ended in late August and Maruti reached a new contract deal with its workforce, awarding them a hefty pay rise and seeking to improve working conditions.
The firm’s fortunes have also been hit due to growing demand for cars fuelled by diesel, which is about 35 per cent cheaper than petrol, analysts said.
Maruti produces more petrol than diesel cars.
The company earlier this month unveiled a fresh design for its top-selling Alto car to fight stiff competition from South Korea’s Hyundai and others like Ford, GM and Volkswagen in a still-growing market.
But sales of new cars in India are starting to slow as potential buyers hold back due to high inflation and fuel prices and costlier auto loans.
The Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers this month forecast sales growth of between one and three per cent for the financial year to March 2013, down from an earlier 10-12 per cent projection.
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