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Maruti rolls out Swift diesel variant

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SWIFT MOVE: Jagdish Khattar (right), Managing Director and CEO, Maruti Udyog, with S. Oishi, Director, Marketing and Sales, launching the new `Swift Diesel' in New Delhi on Wednesday.
SWIFT MOVE: Jagdish Khattar (right), Managing Director and CEO, Maruti Udyog, with S. Oishi, Director, Marketing and Sales, launching the new `Swift Diesel' in New Delhi on Wednesday.

Special Correspondent

Plans two more models next fiscal

NEW DELHI: Maruti Udyog Limited (MUL) on Wednesday rolled out two diesel variants of its premium hatchback, Swift.

While the lower-end model will have an introductory price of Rs. 4.68 lakh, the top-end model will be priced Rs. 4.96 lakh. The company has plans to come out with two more models during the next fiscal.

Interacting with media persons here, Maruti Udyog Managing Director and CEO Jagdish Khattar said, "With the launch of Swift Diesel we are expecting a change in the current market shares of different segments of diesel cars.''

Pointing out that at present diesel vehicles accounted for about 18 per cent of the total passenger vehicles market, of which 11 per cent was made up by compact cars and 40 per cent by sedans, he said, "Going forward, this will change in favour of compact cars.''

Mr. Khattar also revealed that the company would launch two new models in the next fiscal.

A new generation 1.3-litre engine, manufactured by Suzuki Powertrain India Ltd (SPIL) (a joint venture between Suzuki Motor Corp and Maruti Udyog), powers Swift Diesel.

SPIL, which has already achieved 70 per cent localisation of diesel engines, was going ahead with its Rs. 2,500-crore expansion programme to increase engine production capacity to three lakh units annually by 2010 from one lakh units, Mr. Khattar said.

He further said SPIL would be exporting diesel engines to SMC's plant in Hungary within the next two months.

In the context of Maruti having earlier abandoned its diesel engines experiment with Zen and Esteem a few years ago, Mr. Khattar said this time the company was prepared to meet the demand and make the product more affordable to customers.

Suzuki Motor Corp has obtained the technology for its latest diesel engine through a technical licence agreement with Fiat and Adam Opel. It is manufactured at SMC and MUL diesel engine plant in Manesar in Haryana.

"In our earlier experience with diesel engines, we were importing it from Peugeot. Not only was it expensive, we could not meet the demand also,'' he said, adding that the company was geared up to address both issues with Swift Diesel.


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