Indian automakers reported strong sales in January.

Maruti Suzuki India, the country's top passenger car maker, said sales rose 33.3% to a record 95,649 vehicles in January, from a year earlier, aided by strong domestic and overseas sales. Exports tripled to 14,562 units.

"This is the highest-ever number of cars sold in a month," beating a previous record of 87,809 vehicles sold in November 2009, a Maruti Suzuki spokesman said.

Passenger car sales rose 21.2% to 80,952 units.

Hyundai Motor India announced sales of 52,635 vehicles last month, up 41.6% year on year.

"We expect the momentum to continue with the help of the stimulus packages from the government," said director Arvind Saxena.

Hyundai's domestic sales rose to a 12-year high of 29,601, data showed.

Mahindra & Mahindra, a utility vehicle and tractor specialist, said sales rose 71.2% to 30,149 though its Logan JV with Renault posted a 7% dip to 555 units.

Tata Motors said total sales (including exports) of commercial and passenger vehicles in January were 65,478 vehicles, up 77% year on year. Domestic sales of commercial and passenger vehicles grew 74% to 62,202.

Last week, India's central bank, the Reserve Bank of India, in its policy review, kept interest rates on hold but drained excess liquidity from the banking system to try to tame inflation without hurting economic recovery, AFP noted.

Analysts predicted the central bank would only gradually tighten monetary policy in 2010 especially as growth is expected to be constrained by the planned withdrawal of government fiscal stimulus measures.

"An overall recovery for the economy is aiding this sector," said Angel Broking auto analyst Vaishali Jajoo.

"Benign interest rates are also aiding demand," she told AFP.

Auto stocks on the Mumbai stock exchange reacted favourably to the data with rises as much as 1.31%.

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