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Maruti to launch Alto despite worker protests

By , agencyfaqs! | In | September 25, 2000
Market leader Maruti Udyog will launch 800 cc and 1000 cc versions of its Alto model on Wednesday. Around 3,000 Alto cars are ready for delivery

agencyfaqs! News Bureau
NEW DELHI, September 25

Market leader Maruti Udyog Ltd (MUL) will launch the 800 cc and 1000 cc versions of its Alto model on Wednesday. Company sources revealed that around 3,000 new Alto cars are ready for delivery.
The launch of the Euro II compliant Alto is seen as a move to gradually phase out the existing Zen and Maruti 800 in the small car segment. The 800 cc Alto would be in the price range of Maruti 800 which is available in the market in the Rs 2.12- Rs 2.16 lakh (ex-showroom price in Delhi) range. On the other hand, the 1000 cc model would be positioned in the Zen segment, currently priced between Rs 3.40 and Rs 4.97 lakh.
Early last month, when Lowe Lintas grabbed the much-coveted Alto account, both the company and the agency were non-committal about the time of the launch. The company had originally decided to introduce the Alto in September itself, but it was later deferred to December.
Now, as Maruti gears up to roll out the Alto day after, workers warn that they would intensify their ongoing protests for more perks and old-age pensions. If they do, it is bound affect vehicle production including that of Alto.
Accusing the MUL management of inflexibility, Mathew Abraham, Maruti union general secretary, said, "Our agitation could lead to suspension of vehicle production including the Alto." He added, "We are intensifying our agitation as we are totally dissatisfied with the attitude of the company, which is not at all serious about our demands."
The labour protests had begun with a two-day halt in production last week. However MUL chairman, Jagdish Khattar, asserted that this was a technical move to bring down production levels during the time of an ongoing Hindu religious event, during which people were unlikely to buy any cars.
Alongside, MUL is planning to hike the prices of the Maruti 800, Omni and WagonR LX models. For the last three months, MUL has been selling these three models at reduced prices. According to dealer sources, the company plans to withdraw all discounts October onwards.
MUL sold 31,117 units in the month of August, which represents its highest monthly sales this year. The company currently commands close to 59 per cent of the total market share.

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