The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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New sedan ride for Maruti

Manesar, April 22: Maruti Udyog Ltd (MUL) will establish a platform for high-end sedans.

“We plan to add another platform to manufacture high-end cars ... we will also rationalise and produce all other new models from the three existing platforms. That is the international practice,” said Jagdish Khattar, managing director of MUL.

The carmaker will launch SX4, a family sedan, next month. It is expected to carry a sticker price of Rs 7-7.5 lakh.

Explaining the rationale behind the fourth platform, Khattar said, “Maruti has always been known as a small car manufacturer … but now we want to break away from this image. We want to become more stylish and contemporary ... we know how to evolve with time.”

MUL plans to introduce Euro IV and later Euro V compliant engines for its upcoming models. “We will get a new engine series which will not only meet Euro IV norms but will conform to standards that will emerge in the future,” said Khattar.

The first platform is used to make the Alto, Zen and Wagon R. The Swift is made on the second platform. The four-cylinder SX4 will be made on the third platform.

The SX4 will have a localisation content of approximately 80 per cent and will be available in two variants.

Maruti, which produces about 2,500 units of Swift diesel a month, plans to roll out about 7,000 units a month by the year-end. This will be possible after the company expands capacity at its Manesar facility in May or June.

The company plans to export the Swift diesel to Hungary. Khattar said increase in interest rates on car loans would affect overall passenger car sales.

He, however, said new schemes and marketing strategies by car financiers and dealers would ensure healthy sales in the long run.

The high interest rates appear to have dented car sales in April.

Interest rate on a one-year loan is pegged at 17 per cent, two years at 16 per cent and three years and above between 12.5 and 15.5 per cent.

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