Rediff Logo Business Find/Feedback/Site Index
September 20, 1999


Govt okays Maruti plan for four more new cars

Email this report to a friend

The Project Approval Board under the Ministry of Industry has permitted Maruti Udyog Limited to roll out four new car models, code-named YG-4, YG-5, YM-1 and YB-1.

With this approval in place, Maruti is now all set to introduce its line-up of new models to take on the increasing competition in the Indian passenger car market.

The approval comes close on the heels of a similar approval for two other models in August this year, sources in the industry ministry said.

Although the exact details of these new models were not specified by the company, the sources pointed out that these are part of the new line-up that Maruti is readying for the Indian mart.

Maruti, it may be recalled, has finalised the launch schedule for its three new models -- the Baleno, Wagon-R and Alto -- with the first model rolling out in November this year.

The board of directors of MUL has decided that the Baleno, powered by a 1600cc engine, would be the first of the three new models to hit the streets. The car, which is presently undergoing road-testing in New Delhi, would be introduced in the Indian market in November, sources close to the company said.

The Wagon-R, with a 1000cc heart, would be the second in line to zip down the city streets, by February 2000. An upgrade of the existing Zen -- the Alto -- would be the final among the new models. The car is scheduled to be launched in April 2000 with two engine variants -- 800cc and 1000cc.

Besides, the board also decided to advance the launch of the new multi-point fuel injection engines to January 2000, the sources said.

''Vendors have already been given the tight schedule and work is on in full swing,'' vendor sources added.

The Baleno, sources said, would be positioned in the semi-luxury segment to stave off the fierce competition from a stew of new models scheduled to be launched around November. Ford has lined up its new model Ikon and Hyundai its Accent for launch in the same segment around November this year.

The Wagon-R is a multi-purpose vehicle and a hybrid between a van and a car.

The sources further pointed out that efforts have already been initiated to localise the powertrains for the new models. ''Only the Baleno engine would be imported initially, the engines for the other models would be produced at Maruti's Gurgaon factory from day one. But the Baleno engines would also be localised soon.''

The Wagon-R would, in fact, be rolled out with a 70 per cent local content level.

Maruti had registered a highest-ever monthly sales since its inception 15 years ago at 35,528 units in July 1999 as against a previous high of 32,193 units in May this year. It also chalked up all-time high sales of the Zen and Omni during the month.

Overall, Maruti registered a growth of 16 per cent over 30,603 units sold in the corresponding month last year. The company attributed the surge to the cut in prices of its passenger car models effected in January this year.

The company has also decided not to resume sales of its Gypsy multi-utility vehicle in the National Capital Region this fiscal in view of the low sales figure for the vehicle and tremendous cost involved in making it Euro-I compliant.

Registration and sale of both the Gypsy and Omni have been restricted in the NCR since June 1, following a blanket ban by the Supreme Court on sale of vehicles not conforming to Euro-I norms.

The company is giving priority to the Omni van, since it is the firm's second-largest selling model. ''The sales for Gyspy are not all that high to push us into rushing with a Euro-II variant. We would directly go in for a Euro-II compliant Gypsy in April next year.''

MUL is a 50:50 joint venture between the government of India and Suzuki Motor Corporation of Japan.


Maruti price-hikes take market by surprise
Maruti's August sales at all-time high
Maruti to introduce 3 new Zen variants by March 2000
Maruti's Zen Classic reflects Suzuki's Cervo-C, priced at Rs 364,000
Maruti Baleno priced at Rs 750,000
Bhaskarudu quits as Maruti MD, Jagdish Khattar in driver's seat
Maruti forms JV with Sumitomo, Countrywide Finance for used cars biz
Maruti inks MoU with DGFT for Baleno, Wagon-R imports
Maruti to upgrade Zen to stay ahead of Santro, Matiz and Indica
Maruti to raise production by 13 per cent in August
Maruti finalises launch of new models
Maruti sales in July soar, touch a 15-year-high
Zooming back into reckoning
Maruti dealers enter Web to stay ahead
The Government-Suzuki Corp face-off
Search '' for more stories

Tell us what you think of this report