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Maruti Gears Up For Future With Kizashi

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India's top car maker Maruti Suzuki on Wednesday geared up to cater to rising demand for luxury cars in the fast growing Indian market with the launch of Suzuki's premium sedan Kizashi. Maruti, which sells roughly half the cars sold in the Indian market, does not expect Kizashi to substantially boost its performance in the near term. "We are anticipating that this market will grow; there will be demand for such cars," Managing Executive Officer Mayank Pareek told reporters. The luxury sedan segment has a mere 2.8 per cent of the total auto market in India, one of the world's fastest growing, but a burgeoning middle class is seen spurring demand for premium cars. "With Kizashi, we will expand our portfolio. But at the same time, we will not forget the small cars," Maruti's chief executive Shinzo Nakanishi said. A base model of Kizashi, priced at Rs 1.65 million ($36,340) in New Delhi, will compete with the likes of Toyota's Corolla, Volkswagen AG's Jetta, General Motors's Chevrolet Optra and Honda Motor Co's Civic. With demand for cars in developed markets stuck in low gear, global automakers have been increasing their focus on faster-growing regions such as China and India. Maruti will initially import Kizashi, deliveries for which will begin in March, as completely built up units (CBU) from Suzuki's Sagara plant in Japan. It will consider assembling or manufacturing the car in India at a later stage, Nakanishi said. Shares of Maruti, valued at about $7.8 billion, closed down 2.02 per cent at Rs 1215.85 in a firm Mumbai market. The sector index fell 0.09 percent. (Reuters)