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Old 23rd December 2007, 16:31   #1
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Default Maruti to shed low-cost small car maker image

Maruti to shed small car maker image
21 Dec 2007, 0020 hrs IST,Pankaj Doval,TNN

NEW DELHI: At a time when most auto companies are thinking small, India's original small carmaker is thinking big. Maruti-Suzuki's new managing director Shinzo Nakanishi plans to to overhaul the company's image as a predominantly low-cost mini and small car manufacturer to one that offers premium vehicles that sport contemporary look and feel.

A change of image would not see a shift to gas guzzling SUVs or premium sedans but instead see the entry of vehicles like Kizashi, an A4 segment car in the same league Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic. While Kizashi was still a concept car, Nakanishi mentioned Splash and A-Star, the new concept car to be showcased at the Auto Expo next month, as two specific vehicles that would hit the Indian roads soon.

Asked if new models would mean that the company could phase out or withdraw some existing ones, he said, it would not be the case. "There is no plan to phaseout Maruti 800, WagonR or Omni. Suzuki is widening the range of models on offer. We have launched five new models in the last two years. We have an aggressive plan for new model launches going forward as well," he told TOI in an interview.

"We have been developing global models which are European in overall styling and design, and carefully modified to suit local markets. What this means is that Indian customers get international levels of quality and design, at the same time as customers in other key markets," he said.

With the European market on the horizon, Maruti intends to turn India into an an exclusive hub to manufacture small cars. "I believe that Maruti Suzuki is ready to play a much bigger role in Suzuki's global operations, and my task will be to make that happen. Maruti Suzuki's manufacturing capability has reached a level where we want to make small cars exclusively in India for export to Europe," said Nakanishi, who took over from Jagdish Khattar on Wednesday.

Maruti, which sold 6.75 lakh cars in 2006-07, is investing Rs 9,000 crore for upgradation and capacity expansion, and Nakanishi said it planned to introduce more global models in India in the coming days as it worked towards changing its image of being a predominantly low-cost car manufacturer.

By 2010, Suzuki plans to export 100,000 units of the new model A-Star to Europe. "What is significant is that we now have a new world-class facility at Manesar. Maruti's manufacturing capability has reached a level where Suzuki wants to make small cars for Europe exclusively in India, he said."

Article sourced from : Maruti to shed small carmaker image-India Business-Business-The Times of India
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Old 23rd December 2007, 16:43   #2
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To me this means:
- Suzuki, in line with its world strategy, will be coming with better, premium products. Will now step into the luxury segment, starting with Kizashi.
- Kizashi based sedan and SUV to come to India. Most probably at the same time as the ROW.
- 800, Wagon R, even Omni ( )is not going anywhere.
- Splash, A-Star now pakka coming to India.
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Old 23rd December 2007, 16:44   #3
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They are simply,wisely, adding to their product line. I hope they come out with a little 4x4 diesel to replace the gypsy. But that is too much to ask for, right?
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Old 23rd December 2007, 16:50   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DirtyDan View Post
They are simply,wisely, adding to their product line. I hope they come out with a little 4x4 diesel to replace the gypsy. But that is too much to ask for, right?
They did show the Jimny in the last Auto Expo, that too a petrol. Would really love to own a diesel Jimny, if MSI gathers up the courage to introduce it in India!
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Old 23rd December 2007, 20:28   #5
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How are they going to sell M800, Alto, Wagon R, Zen Estilo, Concept A Star in the small car segment together? And with so many small cars how will they move away from their "low cost car maker tag"?
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