Xenitis plans entry into small car segment

Indrani Dutta

Targets October for national launch of bikes

KOLKATA: The Xenitis group is in talks with overseas companies for launching a small car, Santanu Ghosh, group Chairman, said.

Talking to The Hindu, he said, "We are in talks with several companies for launching an affordable four-wheeler,'' he said. However, indications were that efforts were on to have a car that is priced lower than Rs. 1 lakh.

On the two-wheelers proposed to be launched by the group company, Global Automobiles Pvt. Ltd., he said that starting with an eastern launch in March, the bikes would be ready for a national rollout in six months. Company sources said two-wheeler sales in 2006 increased by 14 per cent in the East, 25 per cent in the South, 28 per cent in the West and 33 per cent in the North. Annual two-wheeler sales were pegged at 7.3 million in 2005 with the market size projected to touch 13 million vehicles by 2010.

There would be three variants of the bikes 100 cc, 125 cc and 150 cc. Mr. Ghosh was unwilling to comment on the price of the vehicles, saying that this would be announced at the launch.

But the buzz was that it would be around Rs. 24,000 at the entry level.

"Xenitis ushered in the concept of `Amar PC' (with a sub-Rs. 10,000 personal computer), meaning my computer. Now it brought `Amar gari' (my car), the young entrepreneur said.

Starting with a facility of assembling units imported from China, gradually the present 70 per cent import content would be reduced to 30 per cent with increased levels of indigenisation.

"We will either buy components from the ancillary industries or we will make them ourselves,'' Mr. Ghosh said.