The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Grand Vitara facelift soon

New Delhi, Dec. 3: Maruti Udyog, the country's biggest car maker, plans to launch an upgraded version of its Grand Vitara XL-7 sports utility vehicle in the country, aiming to spur sales in the new emerging market segment.

Sources said the new Vitara would be powered by a 2.7-litre V6 engine which would provide an output of 166 bhp, making it the most powerful among the SUVs launched in the country — the Hyundai Terracan, Chevrolet Forrester, Ford Endeavour and the Honda-CRV.

The upgraded Vitara, to be imported as a fully-built unit, will be launched during this month and sport a sticker price higher than the existing model which costs around Rs 15 lakh, he said.

“The launch in India would be as part of an international launch by Suzuki,” sources said, adding the parent Suzuki Motor Corp has redesigned the model.

Suzuki Motor of Japan holds around 54.2 per cent in Maruti.

The Grand Vitara XL-7 was the first model launched by Suzuki in India after it took over management control of Maruti.

The car maker reported a 47 per cent rise in November sales after a strike at a key vendor supplier of cylinder heads, DCM Engineering, had hurt productions for more than two months.

DCM Engineering met 70 per cent of Maruti's requirement for cylinder heads for cars sold in the domestic market and all its requirements for exports.

Maruti's plant is located on the outskirts of New Delhi and has the capacity to produce 350,000 vehicles annually. It makes 11 models, including cars, multi-purpose and utility vehicles.

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