Maruti plans to double exports, expand rural presence (Lead)

May 19th, 2009 - 6:17 pm ICT by IANS  

Chennai/Kolkata, May 19 (IANS) India’s largest car maker Maruti Suzuki, with a turnover of almost Rs.20,500 crore, is hoping to nearly double its exports this fiscal and expand its footprint in the rural belt, officials said Tuesday.
“Our export target for the current year is 130,000 units that will include A-Star, Maruti 800, Estilo, and Swift models,” marketing and sales executive officer Mayank Pareek told reporters at the launch of the company’s hatchback model Ritz in Chennai.

Pareek said 70,000 A-Star models will be shipped to Germany, Italy, France, Holland and other European countries to be sold as Suzuki Alto.

The company will also sell 30,000 units of the same model to Nissan Motor Co to be marketed in Europe as Nissan Pixo.

The balance 30,000 units will be non A-Star models - Maruti 800, Estilo and Swift - to be sold in non-European markets such as Algeria, Chile, Sri Lanka and Egypt.

In 2007-08, Maruti Suzuki exported 50,000 units, which went up to 70,000 units last fiscal.

According to G.P. Chadha, south zone regional manager, the company’s share in the A2 segment - which sold 8.8 lakh units last year - is around 5.12 lakh units.

Maruti Suzuki’s A2 models comprise Zen, Alto, Swift, and now, Ritz.

In Kolkata, Shuji Oishi, director-marketing and sales, told reporters the company was also planning to expand its rural market share to 15 percent from around 5 percent now.

“Keeping in view the increasing demand from the rural areas, we have planned this,” Oishi said.

Stating that owning a car is no longer an urban phenomenon, he said the company would try to sell more Maruti 800, Alto and Wagon R models in rural India. “This is not our wish, this is the market demand.”

Maruti would open extension outlets and employ residence sales executives to tap the rural market, Oishi said.

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