Oct 3, 2008

Business - India;Maruti Suzuki to launch A-Star by month end

Maruti Suzuki India is expected to launch its new small car — the A-Star — by the end of this month.But, unlike in Europe, where the car will replace the current Alto and take over that nameplate, in India, Maruti will continue to retain all of its current small car models. Speaking to a selection of Indian mediapersons at the sidelines of the Paris Motor Show on Thursday, Mr Toshihiro Suzuki, Board Member and Senior Managing Executive Officer, Suzuki Motor Corporation, Japan said that the company will continue to market all of its current small cars that are in its portfolio in India, including the Alto, Wagon-R and Zen Estilo.Positioning He said that there are a variety of customers with varied expectations and having a wide range of cars enables the company to cater to the market’s various price segments. Mr Suzuki also mentioned that the company will position the new A-Star just below the Suzuki Swift. Speaking about the future of the Maruti 800, he said that it would be difficult to comment concretely on the future strategy of the company for its entry-level small car. However, he mentioned that the company will take into account the market situation and take a decision about the positioning for the M800. Different Segments Mr Suzuki ruled out the possibility of the company taking the Tata Nano head on with a product of its own, since the Tata Motors cars is addressing the two-wheeler buyers segment, which is not the target buyers of MSIL’s cars. Talking about the competition from Hyundai Motors cars, including the soon to be launched i20, which will take on the Swift, Mr Suzuki said that the company is studying the possibility of launching the Suzuki Splash, another global strategic model from the Japanese small car maker.Currently, there are no plans for Suzuki to come up with small diesel engines for its small cars in India, said Mr Suzuki. He,however,said that the economies of scale, lower shipping costs and the synergies that the Indian subsidiary offers were the reasons for the selection of the Manesar plant to be the hub for producing and exporting the new A-Star. He also mentioned that the company is aware that its performance in the Indian market will also be affected, since the global economic crisis will have a bit of effect there too.

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