The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Maruti to hike prices by 2-3%

New Delhi, Dec. 9: Maruti Udyog, the country’s largest automaker, plans to raise prices across the board early next month by 2-3 per cent to offset rising steel prices and input costs.

“The price revision should be effective from first the week of January and the rise will be about 2-3 per cent,” a company official said and added that the 2-3 per cent hike will translate into an increase of Rs 4,000-6,000.

Last week, Hyundai Motor India Ltd raised the price of its mid-size sedan — the Accent GVS. There are indications that General Motors will also follow suit.

The official said Maruti Udyog will introduce new safety features. “This will be part of the input costs.”

Auto analysts said the hike would have a very little effect on sales volumes. “Statistics say December has always been a lean period as most buyers prefer to buy in the new year,” said one analyst.

Meanwhile, the company plans to introduce the Grand Vitara, the 2500 cc V6 24-valve engine with multi-point fuel injection sports utility vehicle, in the price range of Rs 16-18 lakh.

The Grand Vitara, which the company showcased in Delhi last January at a roadshow that ran parallel to the Auto Expo which it didn’t attend, is a small Ute but is the first V6 from the Suzuki stable. Its competitors include the Toyota RAV-4, which is also expected to hit the roads early next year. Several SUVs are being prepared for the launch, including General Motors’ Panther which comes from the Izusu stable. Hyundai Motors is also planning to launch an SUV, the Terracan.

“We will launch Vitara in another three-four months — March, 2003 or April should see the Vitara on Indian roads,” the official said.

“The Vitara has many options and we have not yet decided on which model to bring in India,” the official said.

Asked about the sales target, the official declined to give figures but said: “Our main focus is on small cars which constitutes 90-95 per cent of our total production...but we are optimistic.”

Initially, the Grand Vitara will be imported as a completely built unit. Later, there are plans to assemble the vehicle here if the volumes pick up.

Asked if Maruti Udyog plans to set up an additional production assembly line, the official said: “We have a flexi assembly line production unit, so we won’t require a new unit.”

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