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Maruti Udyog dares rivals

With variety in its new model Estilo, the auto industry leader will take on Santro and Tata Indica, writes Deepak Joshi.

india Updated: Dec 06, 2006 14:43 IST

Industry leader Maruti Udyog Ltd on Tuesday unveiled a new model of its compact car Zen, called Estilo, signalling dynamic efforts to strengthen its presence in the fastest growing segment of the industry. The car will be available in four variants with a price tag ranging between Rs 3.19 lakh and Rs 4.02 lakh (ex-showroom in the Capital). The new Zen is expected to take on Hyundai Santro and Tata Indica.

The new Zen will be available in eight colours. Zen Estilo will be available to the customers for Rs 3,19,403, while Zen Estilo Lxi is will cost Rs 3,48,403, Similarly, Zen Estilo will carry a price tag of Rs 3,734,03 and Zen Estilo Vxi ABS has been priced at Rs 4,02,403.

Maruti had in March this year discontinued 'Zen' in its earlier avatar. The first generation Zen was launched in 1993 and the company had sold 7.60 lakh Zen models until March this year, including the export of  1.22 lakh units. At the time of discontinuation of production, Maruti was selling nearly 4,000 units of Zen every month in the domestic market.

Zen Estilo is roomier than the original 'Zen' and has a 1,061 cc engine. It delivers 64 bhp , thereby making it an ideal vehicle for Indian city conditions, Maruti officials say.

Explaining  the company’s strategy for launching this car, Maruti managing director  Jagdish Khattar said, "Young people in India today desire products with contemporary styling and international appeal. The new Zen will appeal to this new India, just as the original Zen appealed to the India of mid-1990s. It incorporates features and attributes that are uniquely suited to India and valued by Indian car buyers."

The compact car A-2 segment has posted 27.5 per cent growth between April and October this year with 4.08 lakh units being sold compared with 3.2 lakh units in the corresponding period last year.  As a result, the share of the A-2  segment cars to total sales rose to 63.70 per cent as against 60.60 per cent last year.

However, Maruti grew at a rate less than the industry average as it had discontinued the production of  the first generation 'Zen'.

Maruti sold 2,30,137 units during April-October this year, a growth of 23.5 per cent from 1,86,035 units in the same period last year. Maruti’s market share in the A-2 segment in the seven months of the financial year is 56.4 per cent.

Email Deepak Joshi: djoshi @hindustantimes.com

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