Maruti to drive A-Star into Africa, Latin America

Maruti Suzuki India (MSI), the largest passenger car maker in the country, plans to take its latest A-Star hatchback to new markets, such as Africa and the Latin America.

Maruti is looking to tap new markets for exports, as the demand is shifting towards compact cars globally. This would help the automaker meet its target of exporting 1.5 lakh cars, across all models, in the current fiscal, two times that of the year ended March 2009. Maruti exports doubled to 15,978 units in the April-May period led by A-Star.

Pitched as an export product, A-Star cars are already being shipped to France, Italy, the UK, the Netherlands, Germany and other major markets in Europe by Maruti. MSI executive officer (marketing & sales) Mayank Pareek said: “After its success in Europe and sufficient backlog of bookings, we have finalised strategy to enter other markets. A-Star comes with the new highly fuel-efficient K-series petrol engine, which is Euro-4 and Euro-5 complaint and will allow us to market the car throughout the world.”

Maruti had developed A-Star originally for Europe, where it is sold under various brands, such as Alto, Pixo and Celerio, in different markets. The company plans to ship 70,000 A-Star cars to Europe this year, besides selling 30,000 units of the same model to Nissan Motor Co, which markets the product as Nissan Pixo in Europe.

Maruti will now sell the car in Algeria, its biggest market in Africa, besides Chile, Mexico, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Nepal and around 50 other markets, where it has sales and distribution network. Maruti, which serves as the exclusive small car producer and exporter for its Japanese parent Suzuki Motors, aims to export 200,000 cars a year by the year 2010-11. To give export a major thrust, it is developing India’s first dedicated car export terminal at Mundra in Gujarat. It recently became the first domestic car maker to cross the half million export mark this year.

Source : Economic Times