Maruti Suzuki not to launch a car below Maruti 800

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New Delhi, Feb 5 (UNI) Country's largest car maker Maruti Suzuki India Ltd today reiterated that it will not make a car smaller than its Maruti 800 to take on competition, but will meet the consumer demand with its new product line-up.

With Tata Motors rolling out its ultra-cheap Nano car, scheduled to hit the roads later this year, motorbike users are expected to upgrade faster, creating bigger competition for other car manufacturers.

Speculations doing the rounds are that Maruti and Hyundai Motor Co will launch new low-cost cars or cut the prices of their existing entry-level models, the 800 and the Santro to meet the competition.

Media reports have quoted that Maruti was preparing to build a small car with a 660cc engine, priced at Rs 1,50,000 rupees to take on the cheaper Nano, which Maruti has denied.

''The company has no plans whatsoever of developing or offering a car in the segment below the Maruti 800,'' it said in a statement.

''Changing (consumer) preferences are reflected in the sales data: models and variants that promise only economy and low acquisition cost are increasingly losing out to models and variants that are rich in features and style,'' the statement added.

Car makers are eyeing the low-cost segment in the country. The alliance of Renault and Nissan Motor Co is studying the feasibilty of a 3,000 dollar car with motorbike maker Bajaj Auto.

Volkswagen and Toyota Motor Co have also expressed interest in a low-cost model for emerging markets.

Maruti, which is increasing production capacity to one million units by 2010-11, has about half of the country's market for mostly small cars with models such as the Alto and Swift hatchbacks.

Maruti will continue with its strategy of launching strategic models in the country, including the A-Star and Splash, that are also aimed at global markets, it said.


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