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Auto makers try to shrug off Black 2008

autos Updated: Jan 11, 2009 21:54 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
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Shrugging off a lacklustre year, the automobile industry is set to hit its stride with a flurry of launches in the coming ten days. Leading the charge are two spillover car launches from last year — the Mahindra Xylo and Fiat Linea — which would be followed by Bajaj's new offerring in the 125 cc segment.

Both the Xylo and Linea were slated for December launches; the former was deferred owing to poor market conditions, while the latter got stuck in the Mumbai terror attacks on November 26. Bookings for the Linea have, however, already started before the car's national launch, scheduled for January 14.

Xylo which would be Mahindra's new offering in the multi utility vehicle segment would be launched the next day.

"We had already commenced production of the Linea late November and bookings are underway at approximately 70 Tata-Fiat dealerships across the country," a Fiat spokesperson told Hindustan Times. "We cannot give you numbers now but the response has been overwhelming." The car is being offered at Rs 6.19 lakh onwards (ex-showroom in Mumbai).

The country's second-largest two-wheeler maker Bajaj Auto, which had one of its worst years in 2008, has already announced that it would go big on launches this year in order to wrest back some of the lost market share. The company would kick off its campaign with the upgraded version of the Xcd, which would now sport its patented 135 cc DTS-Si engine. The bike is already available with a 125 cc, engine and will complement Bajaj's Discover which has similar specifications. Two more bikes in the same segment would follow later in the year.

"We are trying to consolidate our position in the executive commuter segment of the industry and to that end we are launching a 135cc version of the Xcd that will be priced at around Rs 45,000 ex-showroom and have sportier features," said Amit Nandi, General Manager (marketing), Bajaj Auto. "The other two bikes will come in April and July and will be heavier and more conservative in nature."