Chennai: Maruti Udyog will close this fiscal exporting 35,000 cars, of which 25, 000 will be Altos. The rest will be a mix of the Esteem, the Maruti 800 and the Omni. The company exports a good number of 1.1-litre Altos to the Netherlands. Maruti is India's largest car exporter.
''After showcasing the model at the Geneva car show, the Alto started getting good enquiries,'' says K Saito, director (marketing and sales). The car, sold as the Suzuki Alto, sports safety features like airbags and anti-braking system that are absent in cars sold in India.
''Offering the same safety features to the Indian market will drastically increase the final price. However, we can have these installed when asked by an individual buyer,'' he adds.
The reduction of WagonR prices by Maruti Udyog led to an impressive growth in sales. Between April and December 2002 the company has registered a 33-per cent increase in WagonR volumes. In December 2002 alone the company has sold 3,260 WagonRs.
''The growth in the Tamil Nadu and Kerala markets was around 77 per cent,'' says Saito. Replying to a query to the insipid sales of the Baleno he says the company didn't push the model very strongly.
The company is also slowly expanding its pre-owned car business under the brand True Value, and Chennai is the latest market it ventured into. Confining to Maruti vehicles now, Saito doesn't discount expanding the portfolio by buying and selling non-Maruti cars like the Ford Assured.
The company has sold 4,000 cars under this business, of which 58 per cent is the Maruti 800, 32 per cent the WagonR and the balance the Esteem. Speaking about the customer profile, G C Diwedi, general manager (new business), says: ''Ninety per cent of pre-owned Esteem buyers are retired officials who cannot afford a brand new car in the same segment. In the case of the Maruti 800, women in the age group of 20-25 are its major buyers.''