Companies

Maruti Suzuki gung-ho about new Swift sales

Roudra Bhattacharya Mumbai | Updated on March 12, 2018 Published on August 07, 2011

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Hatchback aims to pip WagonR, i10 as India's second-highest selling model



After a slow start in sales this fiscal, August promises to be a busy month for Maruti Suzuki as it prepares to launch the Swift hatchback in its new avatar.

Expected to replace the WagonR as both Maruti's and the industry's second highest-selling model after the Alto, the Swift hits the road in less than a fortnight and looks to clock monthly sales of around 18,000 units.

In this fiscal, the Alto sold around 34,000 units a month (in July, it dropped to 25,000 a month), followed by the WagonR at 14,000 units a month. These are the two top-selling cars for the industry as well, followed by Hyundai's i10, with sales of a little over 10,000 units a month this fiscal. Other competitor brands, such as the Volkswagen Polo, the Skoda Fabia and the Hyundai's i20 are far below in the ranking.

Ramping up output

“Till the last few months (except July when production was halted), the Swift was selling around 12,000 units a month. We've now ramped up capacity for this at our Manesar facility to 18,000 units a month by moving the Dzire sedan's production to the Gurgaon plant. It will go up further when the second plant at Manesar comes on stream around September-October,” Mr Shashank Srivastava, Maruti's Chief General Manager of Marketing, told Business Line.

Credited with creating the premium hatchback segment in 2005 and remaining the leader throughout, the Swift transformed the image of the company from being slow and boring to youthful and sporty.

Combined with its key vendors, the carmaker has already invested about Rs 550 crore on the development of the domestic model. A further Rs 17-18 crore has been outlined for marketing and communication.

The strong demand outlook is amplified by the fact that even before the price was announced , bookings for the new Swift have crossed 40,000. While around 75 per cent of these are for the diesel model, many customers have also upgraded their bookings from the outgoing model. At launch in 2005, initial monthly volumes for the Swift stood at 3,500 units, heading up to 10,000 units a month by 2009-10.

“There will be a waiting period of three months for the new Swift. The car has always commanded a waiting period since its launch six years back,” Mr Srivastava said.

Swift strategy

Maruti's strategy to launch the new model, even as sales of the older Swift were steady, is because competition in the segment is now hotter than ever before. The new Swift was launched first in Hungary last year. In the last few years, new models, such as the Nissan Micra, the Polo, the Fabia, the Toyota Etios Liva and the i20 have given the Indian customer a plethora of choices.

Thus, to retain its following, the new Swift promises to improve on the outgoing model by offering more value through higher features, increased mileage, a new design, more space and an all round improvement in quality. Meanwhile, it will play on advantages such as the lower cost of ownership of Maruti products, the brand goodwill and its huge sales and service network.

> roudra.b@thehindu.co.in

Published on August 07, 2011
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