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Maruti sees demand shift towards petrol cars

‘We expect that the passenger preference will shift towards purchase of petrol cars as the diesel prices got de-regulated and price gap between the two are narrowing down’, Vice-President and commercial business head of Maruti S N Burman said.

He said that presently the proportion of diesel and petrol cars for Maruti was at 30 per cent and 70 per cent respectively. ‘For Maruti, petrol cars sell most because its two best selling models, Alto and WagonR, were in this version’, he told reporters at the launch of new Alto K10.

The industry trend was 45 per cent for diesel and 55 per cent for petrol. Maruti had the flexibility to ramp up production of petrol cars when the demand picked up to higher levels, he said. About new segment entries, he said that Maruti did not have presence in the sports utility vehicle (SUV) segment.

‘The company is planning to introduce a SUV in the next year’, he said.

Meanwhile, Maruti  said it is investing up to Rs 4,000 crore in the next two-three years in key areas like product development, R&D and marketing infrastructure. MSIL would also focus more on bringing out models with auto gear shift technology, going forward, Executive Director (Engineering) C V Raman said.

‘Currently Rs 4,000 crore worth of investments are going into research and development, product development and marketing infrastructure over period of two to three years (including the current year).

‘We will be improving our R&D capability. We are setting up test labs and other facilities. Marketing infrastructure such as setting up stockyards will be created,’ Raman said.

Replying to a query, Raman said as of now there are no plans to make diesel engines while Suzuki is working on various types of engines in diesel.

On the reports of crash test failure of Swift, Raman said the car meets all standards set by the Indian government.

‘All MSIL as well as other vehicles comply with Indian regulations. As far as swift is concerned. The test is not mandatory in India. There is no regulation to pass that test,’ he said.

According to the Global NCAP, an umbrella body of consumer car safety testing bodies, crash tests of Nissan’s Datsun GO and Maruti-Suzuki’s Swift demonstrated a high risk of life-threatening injuries with both cars receiving zero-star safety rating for their adult occupant protection.

He asserted that the Global NCAP report will not have any impact on Swift sales. The production of auto gear shift models is being ramped up to meet the market demand, he said.

‘Currently, roughly about 4,000 vehicles (are being produced) per month with AGS technology and going forward will ramp up this number. We feel that the two pedal technology is very relevant now. Obviously the auto gear models would increase the volume. May be in future we look at coming out with more models in AGS,’ he said.

Raman said the sales of diesel vehicles could go up as the price difference between petrol and diesel is narrowing.
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