Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Monday, Feb 18, 2002
Industry & Economy
Maruti launches Wagon-R upgrades
FACED with increasing competition from new entrants such as Fiat Palio in the B segment car market, Maruti Udyog Ltd (MUL) has launched upgraded versions of all three variants of Wagon-R.
The new upgraded Wagon-Rs are being shipped to company dealers over the weekend and will be available at virtually the same price.
Company officials confirmed the new launch, stating that it was aimed at giving another boost to Wagon-R sales.
"We have made some changes in the product based on various customer feedback received at the `Wagon-R challenge' series of promotional melas conducted in the metros. The objective of the upgrade is to improve outside looks and interior aesthetics,'' they added.
The changes in the three variants - LX, LXi and VXi - include new colours (Laguna Blue and Coral Beige), new seat fabric that is "more vibrant and luxurious", door trim fabric matching with the seat fabric to break the "plasticky" look, a brighter speedometer dial for easy viewing and reference and rear door beading, for better rear looks.
This beading will be similar to the one offered on the Wagon-R anniversary special edition.
Besides, the upgraded VXi version of the Wagon-R will feature a rear spoiler with stop lamp and two-tone leather cover on steering wheel, in addition to the existing premium features.
Dispatches of the upgraded LXi have already begun and those of the LX and VXi will commence soon, the officials said. The new variants, which replace the existing ones, will be available at prices (ex-showroom Delhi) of Rs 3,30,859 for the LX, Rs 3,59,905 for the LXi and Rs 3,85,045 for the Wagon VXi upgrade.
MUL has been promoting the Wagon-R as the car that pioneered the tall-boy design and has so far been positioned primarily around functionality. As the next step, the company now wants to focus on establishing an emotional connect between the product and the consumer, according to an industry source.
Together with the Zen and Alto, Wagon-R is a critical part of Maruti's strategy in the B segment. MUL has sold about 45,000 Wagon-Rs since its commercial launch in India in February 2000. The company hopes to close the current fiscal with cumulative sales of about 50,000 units.
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