Maruti confident of maintaining market share

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New Delhi, Sept 29 (UNI) As the auto industry goes through a slump, country's leading car manufacturer Maruti Suzuki India Ltd today said it expects to maintain its market share in the current fiscal, primarily by evolving a strategy to counter the major hurdles it faces.

''We will maintain our market share in this fiscal even as the industry goes through bad phase,'' company Executive Officer (Marketing and Sales) told reporters on the sidelines of a conference here.

Last year, the company had a market share of 55.4 per cent.

The biggest challenges for the industry, he said, are the credit squeeze and high interest rates as about 74 per cent of the customers drive their cars home on loans.

''We are evolving a strategy to counter these two problems,'' he said refusing to give details of the plans.

The interest rates have increased from 7.5-8 per cent last year to 14-15 per cent currently, crippling the demand for the vehicles.

The auto industry has registered negative growth in sales since July, the first time in almost three years.

Maruti has reported 10.15 per cent decline in domestic sales during August, while sales in July was flat compared to the corresponding months of the previous year.

''The market condition has been really very tough in the last five months and along with the industry, Maruti has also witnessed only a five per cent growth,'' he said.

The company plans to launch A-Star in November in the domestic market and unveil it at the Paris motor show.

The car will be powered by a new K-series engine and will also have a low-weight three-cylinder aluminium next-generation engine.

It will also launch Splash and Kizakshi next year.

UNI MP SR HS1927

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