It has just become easier for a UAE-based NRI from the southern Indian state of Kerala to own a Maruti, India's biggest-selling passenger car.
Bridgeway Group, a local entity, is offering instalment schemes to NRIs, under which they will be able to own a Maruti back in Kerala.
The NRI will have to make an initial down payment of 30 per cent, take delivery of the car when he wants, and then spread the balance of his payments over a specified period - up to four years.
Interest on the balance carries a flat rate of around seven per cent.
Bridgeway is using its Indian subsidiary - Indus Motor Co. - to offer the new scheme. The Maruti dealer in Kerala, IMC operates a network of showrooms and service centres across the state.
Maruti - in which the Japanese major Suzuki has a stake - obtained cult status since its launch in the mid 1980s. This holds true despite the intense competition on the Indian roads from a slew of international automotive brands.
The basic model - the Maruti 800 - can be had for about Dh15,000.
Proposals in the recent federal budget for 2003-04 sharply scaled down ex-showroom prices of Maruti vehicles. There are currently ten models within the brand's portfolio.
"Initially, we will concentrate on Kerala, where we have the network to support this venture," said Abdul Wahab, chairman and managing director of Bridgeway Group and Indus Motor Co.
"Once positive numbers come through, there is always the possibility that we could extend the scheme to interested NRIs from the other Indian states. Also, for the other states, we need to have alliances with third parties. Till such time, we will gauge the response from Kerala-based NRIs here."
Average monthly sales of Maruti at IMC is 1,000 units, and with the new scheme pulling its weight, Wahab expects another 500 units to be added to the tally. The company is also keeping an option to extend the scheme to some of the other Gulf states in due course.