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|June 23, 1998||
Maruti plans new models
A Special Correspondent
Maruti Udyog Limited has cleared a Rs 3 billion modernisation plan which is geared to introduce new models.
The decision was taken at the company board meeting on Monday.
Managing Director R S S L N Bhaskarudu said the new models would offer the customers a wider range in the existing MUL segments.
Bhaskarudu said, ''The two partners (Suzuki Motor Corporation being the other one) have reached a consensus on the introduction of new models. We will introduce them at the earliest and it is on top of our priority.''
A lighter Maruti 800 cc car and a diesel version of Zen are in the pipeline. ''Maruti is essentially a small car company and we have to be present in this segment with greater prominence. We have to make MUL grow. We would introduce a small car among the new models.''
As for the diesel version of Zen, it will be fitted with a Peugeot Citroen TUD5 engine and released in two months. The launch has been advanced following the entry of Fiat Uno Rs 420,000 diesel version last month.
Two high-level teams, one of which will be lead by Bhaskarudu, will visit Japan in July to finalise the new models in tandem with the SMC, whose representative T Saito is now the MUL chairman.
Bhaskarudu said the company's plans to set up a gear-box unit -- Maruti still imports the vital input from Japan -- will be crystallised only after the new models are introduced.
The important decisions have been taken after the recent deal between the central government and the SMC.
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