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New-look, lower cost Esteem set to take fight to rival camps

06-July-2004
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New-look, lower cost Esteem set to take fight to rival camps

The country’s largest automaker, Maruti Udyog, has pulled it off again. The company unveiled the new-look, upgraded Esteem on Monday with a price tag that is aimed to take the fight to rival camps in the A3 segment of the domestic passenger car market. With a Rs 40,000 to Rs 50,000 drop in the car’s price, and with its new styling, it may indeed be time to “Fall in love again”, the marketing punch line coined for the new Esteem.

Speaking at a glittering launch ceremony in New Delhi, Jagdish Khattar, Managing Director, Maruti Udyog Ltd., said, “The performance and efficiency of the Esteem are widely acknowledged. Now, with a new external look and the new price, there will be no reason for compact sedan customers to select any other brand.”

Jagdish Khattar, MD, Maruti Udyog, and Kinji Saito, Director (Marketing & Sales), present the new-look Esteem which was launched in New Delhi on Monday.

The Esteem LX will now be available at Rs 4.25 lakh ex-showroom Delhi (outgoing model: Rs 4.67 lakh), the Esteem Lxi will come at Rs 4.55 lakh (outgoing model: Rs 5 lakh), and the top-end Esteem Vxi version at Rs 4.90 lakh (outgoing model: Rs 5.4 lakh).

The new Esteem has new front styling and bonnet, multi-reflector clear headlamps, and a new bumper and chrome grille, giving a very contemporary look to the decade-old model. The interior has also been spruced up with plush, new upholstery, silver finished dashboard garnish and controls, a sporty speedometer, chrome-tipped parking lever and metal finished gear lever.

Khattar attributed the substantial price cut to Muruti Udyog’s “ability to achieve process and systems efficiency”. He added, “Feedback from our customers suggested that on the parameters of performance, fuel efficiency and cost of ownership, the Esteem was the best in its class, but its external looks were too familiar. We have addressed this by redesigning the Esteem to re-establish its superiority over its rivals.” The Esteem’s competitors in the A3 segment are the Hyundai Accent, Ford Ikon, Opel Corsa, Indigo and Honda City.

Ravi Bhatia, Genera Manager-Marketing, Maruti Udyog, said, “Esteem enjoys an impeccable pedigree. A strong value product, Esteem has ridden Indian roads for ten years on the wheels of a strong brand equity. We felt that the look of the Esteem needed a radical modernization. The new look will make the Esteem’s positioning stronger as having the lowest cost of ownership in its category.”

The new Esteem will be supported by an aggressive print and electronic campaign. Lowe, the advertising agency for Maruti Udyog, has devised a 30-second TVC focusing on the theme “possessive about your new Esteem”. The TVC will hit channels this week. Bhatia declined to divulge the ad budget but said the company had “an aggressive marketing and advertising campaign lined up”.

With the new pricing, the Esteem will be an attractive upgrade option for owners of A2 segment models, like Maruti’s Alto, Zen and Wagon R, Hyundai’s Santro, the Tata Indica, and Fiat Palio.

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