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|August 5, 1999||
Maruti to upgrade Zen to stay ahead of Santro, Matiz and Indica
Byas Anand in New Delhi
To stave off competition from Santro (made by Hyundai), Matiz (Daewoo) and Indica (Telco), Maruti Udyog Limited is all set to roll out a new look version of its popular Zen. The new model will have a multi-point fuel injection system and will be launched by August-end.
The vehicles have already been manufactured and road-tested and would hit the streets over the next one month, company sources said.
Although a final decision on the price tag of the Zen is yet to be arrived at, the sources pointed out that the new-look Zen would put a cost pressure of Rs 10,000-20,000 per vehicle on the company. Besides, preparation of the MPFI version would cost an additional Rs 25,000-30,000 per vehicle.
''But we are yet to decide on how much of this is to be passed on to the customers,'' the sources added.
The decision to advance the production of MPFI-engine powered Zen was taken in view of the increasing competition from the new entrants in the segment. ''Besides, we already had the technology at our disposal as we were exporting these cars to Europe. It was just a question of selling the cars fitted with the same kits in India as well.''
The kits for the MPFI version would be imported directly from Denso Corporation of Japan. The orders for the same have already been placed.
The new-look Zen would have some additional features over the existing Zen VX. These include an improved frontal face and a fresh grill.
The Zen is presently available in four versions -- LX, VX, AX and diesel. The LX sports a price tag of Rs 290,000 while the VX is priced at Rs 340,000, and the AX and diesel model are priced Rs 418,000 each.
The MPFI versions of the remaining vehicles from the Maruti stables would be rolled out in January 2000.
This is in addition to the three new models that the company intends to introduce over the next one year.
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