Maruti Suzuki has re-started production of Pixo, Nissan Europe's entry-level hatchback, from its Manesar plant that was locked out for a month due to worker violence.
The Pixo, which is being contract-manufactured by Maruti for Nissan, has been refurbished with a retuned engine that lowers CO2 emissions, helping the vehicle qualify for exemption of road tax and a congestion charge applicable in London, one of the largest markets for small cars in Europe.
"We have added 'stop & start' ignition system to Pixo to make it more fuel-efficient and to also conform to new stringent CO2 emission norms across Europe," said a senior Maruti executive. Besides, Maruti has also improved interiors and added new paint colours.
Maruti is aiming to sell around 10,000 Pixos to Nissan this year; this will help provide a much-needed boost to exports, which had dipped 13% to 53,054 units in the first half of the current fiscal year.
"We have orders to manufacture and ship 10,000 Pixo for Nissan Motors this year as part of the export commitment from our parent Suzuki Motors Corp. Despite the troubles faced earlier in the Manesar plant, we expect to meet this commitment as the production has gradually improved," Maruti Suzuki MD S Nakanishi said.
Earlier this month, Maruti shipped the latest batch of Pixo to Europe, where the Indian carmaker also sells its A-Star compact car under the Alto badge. Pixo, a five-door, four-seater hatchback, is a derivative of A-Star and is refurbished by Maruti as per Nissan's specifications for Europe.
"We have a commitment from Suzuki to supply the small car to feed our Europe distribution channels, and this global alliance has been on for the past four years. We will continue taking the Pixo to Europe to meet our fleet emission targets," Toru Hasegawa, Nissan Motors' VP for Africa, Middle East and India, had told ET recently at the launch of the Evalia utility vehicle.
Analysts say the resumption of Pixo supplies to Nissan will help Maruti get production at Manesar back on track.
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