Maruti Suzuki India Ltd. will stop selling its lowest-priced model, the Maruti 800, in 13 of India's biggest cities from April 1, when the federal government implements new, more stringent emission standards, its chairman said Friday.
| "We have no plans to upgrade the Maruti 800 to meet Bharat Stage IV emission norms," R.C. Bhargava told reporters Friday on the sidelines of an industry conference. |
India will adopt Bharat Stage IV emission standards that are equivalent to the Euro-IV standards in 13 of India's biggest cities by April 1. Auto makers are required to invest in upgrading their vehicles to comply with the rules.
"We were contemplating if we can upgrade the Maruti 800 to comply with new emission norms or not and have taken a decision to stop selling the car in cities where new norms will be implemented from April 1," Mr. Bhargava said. "We'll continue to sell the model in rest of the country."
Maruti is India's largest car maker by sales with a local market share in excess of 50%. The company sells seven small car models in India such as the Maruti 800, the Alto and the Swift.
Mr. Bhargava said the company has no plans to introduce a new model at Maruti 800's price point. The company sells Maruti 800 model in four variants priced between 185,715 rupees ($4011) and 219,587 rupees at showrooms in New Delhi.
Sales of Maruti 800 declined 37% to 27,088 units in the April-January period of the current fiscal year that ends March 31. That compares with a 32% jump in the company's total sales (including exports) in the same period to 826,592 vehicles.
Separately, Maruti's Managing Executive Officer Administration, S.Y. Siddiqui, said the company will hire 950 employees in the next financial year which starts April 1.
"A part of this is the advanced hiring for the new capacity that will be operational by April 2012," Mr. Siddiqui said. "We'll continue to hire more people to meet the manpower needs for our research and development vertical as well as the new assembly line."
Maruti is investing 17 billion rupees until April 2012 to increase its annual vehicle production by 25%. The expansion will raise Maruti's annual output to 1.25 million cars from one million now, the company had said in January. Source