Maruti growth robust, but high rates pinch
Maruti Udyog's Managing Director Jagdish Khattar said on Thursday that the high interest rates had an impact on the car sales even as the company posted a 17 per cent growth in the first quarter of the current financial year.
He said it would be difficult to match the record sales of the last financial year if interest rates continued at current levels.
"The interest rate effect has not peaked out and it is still impacting sales. It will be difficult to match 2006-07 sales if interest rates remain the same," Khattar said on the sidelines of the launch of the new avatar of its sports utility vehicle Grand Vitara.
Maruti sold 635,629 vehicles in the domestic market in 2006-07, an increase of 21 per cent from the previous year. The company sold 1,69,669 units between April and June 2007, an increase of 17.1 per cent over the corresponding period last year when the company sold 1,44,948 units.
Khattar said the company was rationalizing the various marketing schemes announced to overcome the impact of high interest rates. This would enable Maruti to target schemes for cars whose sales it intends to give a renewed push.
‘Grand Vitara’ is available in manual and automatic transmission variants with a 2 litre petrol engine at a price tag of Rs 13.80 lakh and Rs 14.80 lakh (ex-showroom) in Delhi. The five-seater vehicle will be brought in completely built units from Japan.
"India is a very important and evolving market for Suzuki. We believe that we have to diversify our product line to meet rapidly changing customer demands. The launch of Grand Vitara is a step in this direction," MUL chairman S Nakanishi said.
Khattar said Grand Vitara is the fifth new product offering from Maruti-Suzuki stable. "The WagonR Duo, Zen Estilo, Swift Diesel and SX4, while being successful, also showcase the diversity of models that Maruti has been able to offer in the past year. The Grand Vitara takes the story forward. It widens the range of products that Maruti offers," he said.