Maruti Suzuki India Ltd (MSIL), which on Thursday said it would resume partial production at its locked-out Manesar unit next week, is looking to launch its much-awaited small car as scheduled during the festival season this year.
The company had earlier said the launch would be delayed with production disrupted at the Manesar unit following violence on July 18. "We are working on it and plan to launch the car as originally scheduled," said Shinzo Nakanishi, managing director and chief executive officer of MSIL.
The 800-cc car, designed and developed on the Alto platform, would be produced from the company's facility in Gurgaon, near Delhi. It is expected to be priced upwards of Rs 2 lakh and would take on Hyundai Eon and Tata Nano.
MSIL's sales in the mini segment (M800, Alto, WagonR, A-Star) declined 23 per cent to 123,811 units between April and July this year amid a slowdown in the passenger car market. Sales in the segment dropped 15 per cent, wiping off seven percentage points from the company's share in the category. Rival Hyundai Motor India Ltd has gained on the back on the Eon, and increased sales 56 per cent to 42,673 units in the same period.
Industry sources said MSIL was keen to launch its latest product and gain from consumer demand around the festive season.
MSIL is set to resume production at Manesar by rolling out 150 units of the Swift and the DZire sedan from Tuesday. Production would be gradually ramped up over the next few days by redeploying 1,000-odd permanent workers in batches at the unit. Of the 1,869 contract workers, those who clear the screening (to commence on September 2) would be regularised and employed in the production work. Additionally, contract workers from the Gurgaon unit would be offered to shift in a permanent position to work at the Manesar facility.
The company did not specify a time frame by which it expects to resume full production at Manesar but said it would make body parts at Manesar and assemble around 250 units of DZire at Gurgaon to meet the demand for the model. The car has an order backlog of over 65,000 units.