The latest passenger car from the Maruti Suzuki stable, the one litre A-Star model will be launched in mid november this year.

Official news is that the A-Star will also be exported under the Nissan badge to Europe and the Middle East and will be called Pixo. Nissan can also sell the same car in India as well under a different brand. The new car is also perhaps the only model in the world which will have 750 variants as it will be sold across 151 countries including Europe, the Middle East, Latin America, Asia and Africa.

Maruti Suzuki is also increasing the number of engineers working in its R&D centre from the current level of 570 engineers to about 1,000 by 2010. Another R&D centre is also expected to set up shortly.

Maruti will manufacture about 1 lakh car units of the A-Star a year for the export market and 50,000 for the domestic market. The same model will be made for Nissan under a contract manufacturing arrangement. The A-Star will be the fifth world strategic model from Suzuki which means the same car can be manufactured simultaneously in other countries. Suzuki will sell the same car in Europe but under the Alto as well as under the Celerio names.

Maruti will use the K-series engine for the gasoline driven car and the engine production will begin in October this year. The A-Star has been positioned as an A2 premium segment car. The A2 segment has a 71 per cent share of the Indian passenger car market which is about 1.3 million units.

The A-Star will be the eighth car launched by the company in four years. and the A-Star model is part of the Rs 9,000-crore investment plan spread across five years (ending 2010).

According to the plan, Rs 2,500 crore is being invested in setting up a diesel facility which will have the capacity to produce 3 lakh engines by 2010. Another Rs 2,500 crore is being invested in the Manesar plant for expansion and upgradation and the rest for setting up the K-series engine plant and for upgradation and expansion of the Gurgaon plant.

The A-Star will be the fifth car platform for Maruti Suzuki.

Maruti Suzuki is also increasing the number of dealership outlets across the country to 1,000 by 2010 from the current level of 600. During 2007-08, Maruti Suzuki sold 7.11 lakh cars in the domestic market and exported about 53,000 units of Maruti 800 and Alto cars. By 2010, Maruti Suzuki expects to export about 2 lakh cars mostly driven by the A-Star model.

Source – Maruti Suzuki