Colombo: The latest Maruti-Suzuki-Zen car that was designed to take on the other amjor competitors in the small-car segment in India, has become a rage in the island country.
Associated Motorways, the sole agent for Suzuki-Maruti in Sri lanka has placed orders for Zen cars from the Suzuki manufacturing plant in India following high demand.
Despite the fact that prospects for car sales in Sri Lanka was not attractive as in other countries due to the country’s economic condition, Maruti-Suzuki has found high demand for its latest Zen version.
Total car sales in Sri Lanka in 2006 was estimated at over 26,500. This year, however,the figures may not be encouraging. But, it is felt that tax concessions from the Sri Lankan government under the India-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement would help revive automobile demand from India and improve sales.
A spokesman for the Maruti Suzuki, erstwhile Maruti Udyog Ltd, sales centre at Borella near Colombo told the ‘Sunday Observer’ that the first shipment of Zen has been reserved only for ‘car permit’ holders.
“It will take at least two months for the cars to arrive in Sri Lanka,” he said, adding that the car’s futuristic design and a high spirited engine has attracted small car lovers.
“With a tried and tested engine, the new Zen Estilo is undoubtedly a stylish package that should attract a number of young buyers,” the newspaper commented in its special page on automobiles.
Meanwhile, Maruti also plans to ship 1,000 units of the model every month to Indonesia to meet the market demand.
“The Indonesian small-car market is small, while the overall auto market there is dominated by SUVs. However, with the launch of Estilo since a few months back, we have been able to capture about 60% of the compact car market,” said a company spokesperson in New Delhi.
The spokesperson said Maruti Suzuki is focusing on the non-European market, with sales having grown by over 65% in Middle-East, Africa, South Asia and South America.