From this Sunday, I am starting a series of weekly specials. These will be insider news about future company model programs, happenings, stuff that you will not have read in any of the enthusiast magazines and stuff that when they publish is accompanied by ‘SCOOP’ in caps and bold. As none of the media outlets have any use for my rantings, as accurate as they may be, I will use my blog as an outlet.

Maruti has some ambitious plans for 2006. The company will launch the Escudo, the replacement for the Grand Vitara, already available in international markets. The Escudo, based on the GM-Suzuki Chevy Equinox platform, is a handsome looking vehicle and would be a good flagship and image builder, something which the aging Vitara could not do.

After all this, Maruti wants to have a look at the Corolla-Octavia-Optra segment with an all new sedan that Suzuki is developing. This is expected next year only. By the end of this year, Maruti’s diesel plant and its new facility in Manesar will be operational. And that would mean additional headache for its competition.

The Wagon R will get an overhaul this year. The Solio that Maruti showcased at the Auto Expo this year is an indicator to things of the future. The reworked Wagon R will have more legroom and a new face as well. I expect a diesel to be slotted in when Suzuki is ready with Fiat’s 1.3-litre Multijet.

The Zen will finally be put to rest, a hard act to do with a model that is still selling a few thousands every month. But the Zen brandname will not die. I expect the MR Wagon to be introduced in India with the Zen brand name. The MR Wagon is a nifty small car powered in Japan by a 660cc engine but the Indian version may get a bigger engine.
The Swift sedan is also on the anvil, most possibly by end of the year with a petrol and the new Multijet diesel. The Swift itself will get the diesel shot as well.