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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Maruti Eeco MPV to be launched at 2010 Auto Expo

Maruti Suzuki, which already dominates the Indian small car market with their massive range of compact cars, is now gearing up to launch yet another model named ‘Eeco’ at the upcoming Auto Expo 2010. The company, which will replace its already-bombed ‘Versa’, next month, will be launching the aforesaid compact multi purpose vehicle on 7th January’10. India’s leading carmaker claims that the new MPV is likely to find takers in the rural markets; where such vehicles are used as a means of transport. Pegged as a family car with dual usage (cargo plus passengers), it has been built on the Versa platform and Maruti expects to sell about 40,000 Eecos in the first year. It is BS IV compliant and comes strapped with a 1200 cc petrol engine {and returns 15.1Km to a litre of petrol (as per ARAI). To be sold in three variants: 5-seater standard, 5-seater AC and a 7 seater, the car will be under C segment and is likely to be priced below Rs. 4 lakh.

Shashank Srivastava, chief GM for Maruti Suzuki, said, “The Versa was perhaps positioned incorrectly. Its initial positioning was two luxury cars in one - but customers did not view the Versa as a luxury car. We have learnt from customer feedback and the Eeco is not being positioned as a luxury vehicle at all. In fact, it will be priced lower than the Versa". Srivastava also asserted that the Omni van was selling well and, together with the Eeco, Maruti would aim for a larger slice of the 'C' segment that accounts for 8,000-10,000 unit sales per month. Depending on demand, the Eeco may also be launched in the cargo version.

The 1196ccc engine of Eeco generates 73bhp of raw power at 6000rpm and a high torque of 101Nm@3000rpm. The Eeco uses the 5 speed manual transmission system with the Diagonal Shift Assistance (DSA) technology which allows for a gear change without any break in continuity of the action, thereby improving the gear shift feeling. It will be available in six colours – Metallic Glistening grey, metallic silky silver, Metallic Midnight Black, Metallic Blue Blaze, Bright Red and Superior White. Furthermore, the Eeco is ELV (End of Life for Vehicles) compliant which means it uses Lead, Cadmium, Mercury and Chromium within permissible limits.

According to Maruti’s official note, “Eeco is India’s answer to the big fat Indian family car. Functional in nature, Eeco has balanced design proportions. While the 155/R13LT sized tubeless tyres add to the smooth, yet powerful drive with a good grip on the road, the dual tone interiors in shades of beige and grey provide a rich and spacious feeling. Since its passenger-orieneted, the seats have been especially designed with integrated head-rest to make for a comfortable ride. Sliding doors eases entry and exit for passengers even in congested road conditions and the digital meter cluster adds to the driver convenience.”

Maruti Suzuki managing executive officer (engineering) I.V. Rao said, “The new car represents the growing expertise of our engineers to conceive, design and produce vehicles here. This is also in line with parent Suzuki Corp’s vision of turning India into a global hub for small car research and development.”

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