Maruti plans to roll out SUVs and MPVs

February 3rd, 2012 - 7:57 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Feb 3 (IANS) Maruti Suzuki has ramped up production of the diesel versions of its passenger cars and plans to roll out SUVs (Sports Utility Vehicles) and MPVs (Multi-purpose Vehicles) to remain as the market leader.

With diesel variants now accounting for over a fourth of the country’s passenger car sales, the auto major is currently looking at further ramping up production of the diesel versions.

“Because of the tilt over diesel cars we are trying to increase our production of diesel versions. Last year we were producing 17,000 diesel cars a month and this year we are producing 23,000 to 24,000 a month. Hopefully with additional supply (of diesel engine from Fiat), we will be able to produce 30,000 a month,” Shashank Srivastava, Maruti Suzuki India chief general manager (marketing), said during the launch here of Swift DZire, a new compact sedan.

To increase production of more diesel vehicles, Suzuki and Italian car maker Fiat have recently inked a diesel engine supply deal. Fiat will supply one lakh 1.3 litre diesel engines to Maruti Suzuki for three years from January under the deal.

Srivastava said the company has also increased the production of cars at its plant in Manesar.

Due to labour unrest last year at Manesar plant, production of the company’s popular Swift hatchback was seeverely affected. The company lost 40,000 units in production in the October-December quarter due to the strike.

Srivastava said the auto major’s strategy was to enter the segments in which it was not present now.

As per the strategy, the company is now looking at segments like SUV and MPV, which consist of about 15 percent of the country’s passenger car market.

“We are not present in the 15 percent of the market which is SUV and MPV market. We showed those cars in the auto expo (in New Delhi last month). Hopefully, we will be bringing them into the market… it should give us additional volume,” Srivastava said.

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