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Maruti drives in S-Presso at 3.7 lakh

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times Business - TIMES NEWS NET­WORK

New Delhi: Maruti Suzuki drove in a new mini car as the coun­try’s largest car com­pany tries to shrug off the slow­down blues cur­rently plagu­ing the au­to­mo­tive mar­ket. The com­pany said that new launches and heavy dis­counts are help­ing re-charge de­mand as the fes­tive sea­son kicks in.

The S-Presso, for which the com­pany has spent over Rs 600 crore, comes with an en­try price of Rs 3.7 lakh (ex-show­room). The BS6 car sports a 1-litre petrol en­gine and comes with both man­ual and auto gear shift transmissi­on op­tions. Maruti MD Kenichi Ayukawa said the cur­rent slow­down — which has lasted nearly a full year — is now more-or-less in its last leg. “We be­lieve the cur­rent tur­bu­lent times are a short-term chal­lenge. We con­tinue to have con­fi­dence in In­dia’s long-term growth story.”

S-Presso is tar­geted at newage buy­ers, and Maruti hopes it can help re­vive sales of en­try-level mod­els. Its old warhorse Alto has been un­der pres­sure due to slow­down and has seen vol­umes dip by 50%. Shashank Sri­vas­tava, direc­tor (mar­ket­ing and sales), said Alto’s num­bers will not be im­pacted af­ter en­try of new model.

Also, he said that he ex­pects the over­all car mar­ket to come back, es­pe­cially with un­cer­tain­ties around GST and BS6 mi­gra­tion go­ing down. “Car buy­ing be­ing a dis­cre­tionary pur­chase, so sen­ti­ments are very im­por­tant. There­fore, you find some­times there is dis­pro­por­tion­ate ef­fect in terms of sales... I think in the last few days, there has been a change in sen­ti­ments partly of course due to fes­tive sea­son… we don't have a crys­tal ball to see how far it sus­tains… def­i­nitely as com­pared with pre­vi­ous months it is much bet­ter."

FIGHT­ING SLOW­DOWN

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