Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Maruti Suzuki launches new Estilo sans Zen prefix

Indo-Japanese car maker Maruti Suzuki on Tuesday launched a new petrol version of its hatchback Estilo, priced between Rs 3.12 lakh and Rs 3.95 lakh at showrooms in the national capital. The group also dropped the car's "Zen" prefix.

According to Maruti, Estilo has established itself as a brand and did not need the crutches of "Zen" to its name.

"Estilo is a brand in itself and is very different from the Estilo we launched in 2006 or the Zen in 1993," said Mayank Pareek, Maruti's managing executive officer in-charge of marketing and sales.

The new model is equipped with a 998 cc, three-cylinder petrol engine. According to the company, it is not only more powerful compared with the earlier version but also better in terms of fuel-efficiency, besides being compliant with the latest emission norms.

The hatchback will be manufactured at the Gurgaon plant where the company's "A-Star" and "Ritz" models are produced, Shinzo Nakanishi, managing director and chief executive of the carmaker, said at a glittering event in New Delhi.

"The car delivers a superior fuel efficiency of 18.2 km per litre," Nakanishi said. The event included a ballet dance, performance by a gynmnasts' group and a percussion recital by a set of three drummeRs

The company plans to invest Rs 1,000-Rs 1,500 crore to build its first research and development centre in the country, to be built over 700 acres in Rohtak in Haryana. The land was handed over to the company last week.

The new Estilo is available in eight colours, including four new ones - ecru beige, emerald Blue, dusky brown and quantum orange - apart from the existing silky silver, superior white, bright red and midnight black.

The company expects to sell about 3,000-4,000 units of this new model per month.

Though the older version is also being sold almost the same number of units, "incremental increase in sales is expected after this new launch," Nakanishi said.

Maruti is also confident that the company will come out of its financial woes in the upcoming festival season as sales are expected to shoot up.

"Last year was a disaster, but we expect better sales this year," Nakanishi said.

On exports targets, Nakanishi said Maruti was planning to sell 100,000 units of its small car A-Star in the overseas markets.

It has set a total exports target of 120,000 units for the current fiscal.

The company's signature model "Maruti-800" will be available only in tier-II cities once the emission norms are implemented from April 2010.

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