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Maruti launches Ritz hatchback

By Super Admin

Mumbai, May 16 (ANI): Maruti Suzuki India Ltd has launched its premium hatchback, Ritz, as it battles to boost sales in a segment that is set to see greater competition.

Maruti, which sells one of every two cars sold in India, expects to get a "good response" for the new car, Managing Director and CEO Shinzo Nakanishi said, but he declined to give sales forecast.

"Including this, we have 12 models. The customers have different needs so we comprise include requirements," said Nakanishi.

The price of the petrol version varies from 390,000 rupees to 480,000 rupees ex-showroom in New Delhi and 465,000 rupees to 499,000 rupees for the diesel variant, the company said.

The company, 54.2 per cent owned by Japan's Suzuki Motor Corp, will face stronger competition in the upper-end of the compact car market with a number of launches expected in the coming months and next year.

Japan's Honda Motor will unveil its Jazz, Volkswagen's Czech unit, Skoda Auto, will launch its new Fabia and General Motors has a compact car lined up for later this year.

These will be followed by Volkswagen's Polo supermini and its sedan variant next year and Toyota's Yaris and Nissan's supermini March.

Car sales in India had slowed down sharply in the past year as the global economic downturn hurt demand and drove borrowing costs up, but analysts expect a recovery when the tide changes.

Industry sales are forecast to expand three to five per cent in the year to next March, after slowing sharply to one per cent growth in the year just ended, according to the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers data.

The upper end of the compact car segment reported sales of 79,339 units in April, up nearly eight per cent from a year earlier, the data showed.

The petrol Ritz comes fitted with the new K12M engine, manufactured at the company's engine-making facility in Gurgaon, near Delhi.

The diesel version of the company's Swift hatchback, which forms the platform for the Ritz, has been seeing good demand with a waiting period of three to four months, company officials said. (ANI)

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