MUMBAI – India’ s passenger-vehicle sales (domestic and export) rose 7.9% in May to 136,802 units.

Utility specialist Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. and General Motors India Ltd. were the month’s strongest performers, with sales increases of 60.5% and 56.2%, respectively, vs. year-ago.

M&M’s utility-vehicle deliveries jumped 20.1% to 8,526 units. The Mahindra-Renault Logan sold 2,787 units in its first full month on sale. M&M still is tweaking production to meet demand for the new compact car, as well as extending its distribution network to include smaller towns in India.

GMI posted its best May ever at 5,432 units, fueled by strong demand for the new Chevrolet Spark, Aveo U-VA and diesel Optra. The auto maker’s lineup, which includes vehicles priced at Rs300,000-Rs2 million ($7,500-$50,000), has helped it increase its market share from 2.5% at the end of the last fiscal year to 3.8% currently. GMI is targeting a 10% share of the 2 million-unit market by 2010.

With the help of the SX4 sedan, Maruti Udyog Ltd. saw deliveries rise 11.2% to 109,751 units, but its market share declined from last fiscal year’s 42.8% to a current 42.5%.

Honda Siel Cars India Ltd.’s sales climbed 15.9% to 8,715 units, even as the Maruti-Suzuki SX4 affected demand for Honda’s popular City car.

Hyundai Motor India Ltd. saw a sales uptick of 3.1% to 53,717 units, as its market share increased to 20.8%.

Tata Motors Ltd. suffered declines in both sales and market share, down 4.6% and 14.3%, respectively.

Fiat India Ltd., meanwhile, is regaining lost ground, as sales surged 41.7% to 306 units.

DaimlerChrysler India Ltd.’s deliveries increased 28.1% to 146 units, while Skoda Auto India Ltd.’s sales slid 23.1% to 810. BMW India Ltd. sold 116 vehicles.

Reeling from rising finance rates, the Indian auto market has yet to settle into a new pattern of demand. Many auto makers have cut production by 5% in anticipation of a sales decline.