* First rise in profits since June 2011
* Maruti outperforms market after bad summer
* Shares rise 4 pct
(Adds details, shares)
NEW DELHI, Jan 25 Maruti Suzuki India Ltd
, India's biggest carmaker by sales volume, said its
third quarter profit more than doubled, its first increase in 18
months after a torrid period marked by a strike, plant shutdowns
and a demand slowdown.
The small car champion, which two years ago produced every
other new car sold in India, outperformed a miserable market
during the quarter to end-December, bouncing back after a deadly
factory riot in July led to a $250 million production loss.
Maruti, controlled by Japan's Suzuki Motor Corp,
said profit for the Oct-Dec quarter was 5.01 billion rupees
($93.30 million), up from 2.05 billion rupees in the same
quarter of 2011. Sales rose 46 percent to 109.57 billion rupees.
Analysts had expected profit of 5.24 billion rupees,
according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
At 0845 GMT, shares in the automaker were up 4 percent at
1600 rupees, outperforming a Mumbai market that was up
Maruti sold 27 percent more cars in the quarter, helped in
part by strong sales of a cheaper and more fuel-efficient
version of its Alto, the world's best-selling small car, during
India's October-November festival season when people typically
make big purchases.
The growth in profit was primarily due to higher sales and a
positive consumer response to new car models like utility
vehicle Ertiga and Swift DZire low-cost sedan, Maruti said in a
statement, adding that cost cuts also boosted profit.
Car sales in India so far this fiscal year are down on the
previous twelve months and are on track to post their lowest
growth in nine years, according to the Society of Indian
Automakers (SIAM), an industry lobby group.
High interest rates, rising fuel prices and slowing economic
growth is hurting India's car market, once the toast of the
global industry, tempting a slew of carmakers to invest billions
of dollars setting up plants.
Analysts expect Maruti to cut its capital expenditure by
about 12 percent in the next 12 months, which would be the
second biggest cut among 40 top Asian automobile firms,
according to Thomson Reuters Starmine's SmartEstimates.
SmartEstimates accords greater weight to recent forecasts
from historically more accurate analysts.
($1 = 53.6950 Indian rupees)
(Reporting by Anurag Kotoky; additional reporting by Patturaja
Murugaboopathy in BANGALORE; Writing by Henry Foy; Editing by