Mumbai: Maruti Udyog Ltd (MUL), Suzuki Motor Corp's Indian subsidiary, plans to launch a new car model in place of the Maruti Esteem next year to boost sales and increase its market share in India.
The new model will have an engine size of between 1.3 litres and 1.6 litres, senior officials told newspersons in Hamamatsu city, southwest of Tokyo. Suzuki is now focusing more on its overseas markets demand for mini-cars, which in Japan is slowing down.
The company took a controlling stake in MUL last year and wants to introduce new models to expand its presence in the market. MUL is the largest car manufacturer in India in terms of market share.
Maruti's mid-sized Esteem faces stiff competition from the likes of the Ford Ikon, General Motors' Corsa, the Hyundai accent and the Honda City 1.3. The Esteem's popularity has been waning in recent times even though the company came out with an upgraded version of the car that had more horsepower and torque last year.
However, the 'look' of the Esteem has not changed over the years and remains the same as the Maruti 1000 launched in the late eighties. With competition hotting up in the mid-size segment Suzuki perhaps feels its time to replace the Esteem with a new mid-size car with a refreshing new look.