Maruti dealers will have two or three sales executives who would deal only with the new car.

Our Bureau

Ahmedabad, May 27

MARUTI Udyog Ltd has recruited nearly 1,000 sales executives who would exclusively push its latest B+ segment offering, the Swift.

"We are trying to adopt a different strategy for the Swift. We want to position the car as the choice of the customer who is young and unconventional. That is why we decided on an exclusive sales team for the Swift," Maruti's Chief General Manager (Sales), Mr Arvind Saxena, said on Friday.

Maruti has 326 outlets across the country. Each of these dealerships will have two or three sales executives who would deal only with the new car. Maruti had earlier deputed 25 engineers who worked for two years to suit the car to Indian road conditions that require more rugged suspension and powerful air-conditioning.

The Swift, Maruti's latest premium hatch-back car that was unveiled on Wednesday, has already notched up over 9,000 bookings and delivery will start from June 6, Mr Saxena said at the launch in Ahmedabad.

Asked if the aggressively priced car would cause a dent in the sales of other Maruti vehicles such as Wagon R and Zen, he said: "We don't mind as long as the customer stays within the Maruti fold."

Despite having three cars, Wagon R, Zen and Alto apparently competing with each others in the high-volume B-segment, Mr Saxena said that Maruti's overall share of the segment had gone up 7 per cent last year. Asked if the prices of other models would be altered in view of the Rs 3.85 lakh tag on the base model of Swift, Mr Saxena said that prices and discounts were a function of demand and often companies have to take measures to attract customers.

"Schemes and offers keep changing, depending on how much the company wants to sell a particular model. But as of now, all our products are doing well in their categories," Mr Saxena said. Maruti's re-launched C segment car, the Esteem, is now the third largest selling car in its category and even the C+ segment offering, the Baleno, now sells about 800 units a month, he added.

On its utility van, the Versa, he said that it was a slow starter because the prices of diesel were still much below that of petrol. "The Versa is a petrol car and at the time of its launch, we had thought that the gap in diesel and petrol prices would narrow down because of decontrol. But that has not happened and we are now working on a new diesel engine plant to develop competitive products in that segment," Mr Saxena said.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated May 28, 2005)
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