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Maruti to roll out Vitara's new version in 2007

Maruti is all set to unveil diesel engine run Swift and an all-new version of Vitara in the next three months, reports Deepak Joshi.

india Updated: Dec 12, 2006 18:26 IST

Car industry leader Maruti Udyog Ltd (MUL) is all set to unveil a diesel engine run Swift as well as an all-new version of sports utility vehicle Vitara in the next three months. The aggressive strategy aims to re-establish its dominating position in the compact car segment.

"With the launch of 1.3 litre diesel Swift and Vitara in the next quarter, Maruti would have unveiled four cars in the past two years. The company has already hit the road with petrol version of Swift and upgraded WagonR," MUL managing director Jagdish Khattar told the Hindustan Times shortly before leaving for Japan with Prime Minster Manmohan Singh.

Suzuki Motor Corporation chairman Osamu Suzuki had committed to introducing five new models in five years during his last visit to India. "We will honour our commitment," Khattar stated.

Though Maruti had witnessed internal churning due to decision to discontinue first generation and adjust production schedule of Alto and WagonR, the company is confident of surpassing its last year performance in the fourth quarter of the current financial year. The company had sold 1.49 lakh cars in the fourth quarter of 2005-06.

"Our diesel plant will roll out cars in the next quarter. With the 1 lakh per annum capacity manufacturing line operational, Maruti will be able to overcome capacity constraints that had often dogged us in the three quarters of the financial year," Maruti managing director stated.

The compact car A-2 segment has posted 27.50 per cent growth between April and October this year with 4,07,912 units being sold compared to 3,19,913 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 has grown less than the industry as it has discontinued the production of the first generation 'Zen'. Maruti sold 2,30,137 units during April-October this year, a growth of 23.50 per cent as against 1,86,035 units in the same period last year. Maruti's share in the A-2 segment in seven months of the financial year is 56.40 per cent.

Maruti foresees a certain distortion in the car market in the fourth quarter of the current fiscal. The company sold 1.45 lakh cars in the last quarter of 2005-06. "There was a drop in car sales in February 2006 due to expectation of an excise duty cut in the Budget. This resulted in a surge in sales in March 2006. As a result, we may even post negative growth in March 2007," Khattar stated.

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First Published: Dec 12, 2006 18:26 IST