Oct 22, 1999|
Maruti to unleash the 'Baleno'
Maruti plans to launch the Baleno (the luxury sedan from the Suzuki stable) in the second week of November. This was reported by a leading financial daily.
Maruti is the leading car manufacturer in the country with a presence in the mid-sized segment (Esteem, 1000), small car (800, Zen) as well as utility vehicles (Gypsy).
Although Maruti is yet to announce a price for the Baleno, indications are that it will be priced in the Rs 700,000-Rs 800,000 price range. With the Baleno, Maruti will have two models (Esteem and Baleno) in the mid-car segment. There were many who felt that Maruti was missing out on demand from the premium segment (Rs 700,000-Rs 800,000). Baleno will seek to correct that.
But Maruti can expect some stiff competition from other manufacturers. Earlier, this week Hyundai launched the Accent at a price tag of Rs 535,000 (basic model, ex-showroom Delhi). Other car majors General Motors (Corsa), Ford (Ikon), Fiat (Siena station wagon) have already lined up a slew of launches. Even Honda and Tata (Midi) have firmed up plans to launch new products. Toyota plans to launch a range of multi-purpose vehicles (MPVs) that will be competing in the mid-sized car segment.
Maruti's strength is its extensive distribution network. But this alone will not help it enhance market share in the mid-car segment from the current level of 35%. In the small car segment, Hyundai (Santro) and Daewoo (Matiz) showed Maruti what relatively new entrants can do to it with smaller distribution networks. Even in the mid-sized segment, Honda and Mitisubishi (in the premium segment) have posted encouraging sales growth, which indicates that there is demand in the Rs 600,000-Rs 700,000 range for the right technology.
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