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Friday, Jan 11, 2002

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Maruti bid to push sales in N-E, East

Ambar Singh Roy

KOLKATA, Jan. 10

THE eastern and the north-eastern regions will together account for around 15 per cent of the total Maruti vehicle sales in the domestic market during the year ending March 31, 2002. This would mark an improvement of about 1.5 per cent compared with the sales in the region in the last fiscal.

A comprehensive brand positioning and marketing strategy had facilitated increased sales of Maruti vehicles in the region, according to informed official sources.

The sources told Business Line that in December 2001, for instance, the eastern and north-eastern regions accounted for nearly 16 per cent of the total Maruti vehicle sales. While the prospective customers in North India postponed their purchase plans during the year-end, customers in the East went ahead with their purchases.

An aggressive marketing campaign aimed at pushing the sales of Maruti models in the `A' segment saw Omni sales in the region touch 1,250 units last month.

``These sales volumes were achieved without much support from private finance companies who seem to be more inclined to finance vehicles in the `B' and `C' segments,'' the sources said, adding that talks had been initiated with car finance companies with a view to persuading them to be aggressive in the `A' segment as well. As part of its overall strategy, MUL has initiated the process of holding training sessions for executives and direct sales agents of motor finance companies, too.

With a view to ensuring sustained growth, MUL has stepped on the gas as far as monitoring of dealers and interacting with them is concerned. The dealership network in the eastern region has lately been augmented to 24 with the appointment of new dealers in Bhubaneswar, Asansol, Kolkata, Kharagpur and Bhagalpur.

For MUL, the eastern region comprises West Bengal, Orissa, Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Sikkim and Andaman & Nicobar Islands and the north-eastern region comprises the six States in the region.

During April-December 2001, sales of Maruti vehicles in the eastern region went up by nine per cent compared with during the corresponding period of 2000.

The Maruti 800, Omni, Zen and Wagon R were among the models that fuelled the growth. A strategy was being firmed up to facilitate increased sales of the Versa — preferably to the tune of 80 and 100 units per month — in the region, too.

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