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Hindustan Motors set to launch Pajero variants

Our Bureau

Kolkata , Sept. 20

HINDUSTAN Motors Ltd (HM) is set to launch new models of the Pajero in the sports utility segment within the next three months. The company is hopeful of selling 200 units of the Pajero in 2004-05, up from around 100 in 2003-04.

Speaking to newspersons after the conclusion of the company's 62nd AGM on Monday, Mr C.K. Birla, Chairman, said that the number of Lancer car sales this year has been pegged at last year's level of 2,700 units.

"However, the realisations from Lancer sales would be higher this year on account of the model mix," he added. Ambassador sales have been pegged at 1,100-1,200 units every month.

Mr Birla said that HM would focus on the manufacture of auto components for both the domestic and overseas markets.

The company's Pithampura plant has already manufactured and supplied engines to car manufacturers while its power products division has commenced exports of transmission components.

Auto components would now be manufactured at HM's Uttarpara plant near Kolkata.

According to Mr Birla, a sizeable portion of the 700 acres at the Uttarpara factory - stated to be 100-200 acres - was lying unutilised and the company was trying to facilitate alternate uses of the same. Legal issues will have to be addressed before firm plans in this regard can be divulged, he said.

Asked whether the company would post profits in the current year, he said: "I can't tell you that."

However, the outlook for the year was good and growth in the company's turnover would be spurred by new variants of the Ambassador and the Lancer.

Efforts are also on to reduce costs and the interest burden.

During 2003-04, HM's income from gross sales and services stood at Rs 858.88 crore, down from Rs 1,074.73 crore in 2002-03.

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