Companies

Maruti’s new Swift can be a ‘game-changer’ in 2018

S Ronendra Singh New Delhi | Updated on January 08, 2018

R S Kalsi, Senior Executive Director (Marketing and Sales), Maruti Suzuki India

Swift — the iconic brand from Maruti Suzuki India’s (MSIL) stable has made many records since its inception 12 years back, and is now coming in a latest avataar next month, which could be one of the biggest launches this year.

Not only customers, but Swift has made memories and pride for employees of the company too, as it was the first premium hatchback for India from MSIL.

"I was the North Head at that time and it was an exciting time for us because Swift was admired on roads — particularly the red colour. Though we sold quite many of the white colour also, it was not so popular because the character of the vehicle was highly performance-oriented and sporty...sporty, performance oriented and bold vehicle," R.S. Kalsi, Senior Executive Director (Marketing and Sales), MSIL, recalls speaking to BusinessLine.

Right from day one of its launch in 2005, because of the performance and goodwill of the people it became a sort of cult on the similar lines of Harley Davidson, and social media also started having groups like ‘Swift users/ lovers club', said Kalsi. But, will the new Swift create more value to the customers and make records as the earlier ones?

“We have been able to sell 1.7 million units of Swift till now, which is quite an achievement in that category, particularly when most of the competition models after six months or one year later became fatigue and number started declining. Here it was not like that. Customer acquisition continues till date and we will continue to provide the excitements with the new Swift," he said.

When Swift was launched, there were also some set of notions about a small car. But, here was a car that was designed bold and aggressive, and yet could be reliable and economical. It could have features offered in a large car, and cost well under ₹4 lakh, Kalsi said, adding that majority of them are first-time and aspirational buyers who want a product that looks sporty and no compromise on comfort and performance.

According to Puneet Gupta, Associate Director, IHS Markit (automotive forecasting), the new Swift can be a game-changer and will further help MSIL strengthen its market share in India.

“This time it is two-wheeler buyers who are on the target. We have seen in the past few months that sales of Swift have been declining. It is strongly accepted that MSIL will be able to reverse this trend. This will also bring new cheer for their loyal 'A' segment customers who were looking to upgrade to bigger hatchback," he said.

Features

The third generation Swift will refuel the energy in Maruti Suzuki and will further intensify competition in the already flooded segment, including its own Baleno, he said, adding that the question is, will it be a revolutionary design and if it can repeat the same success as its old generations.

The new Swift will be powered by same engines (1.2-litre K-Series petrol and 1.3-litre DDiS diesel) but with refinement for better fuel efficiency, as per sources in the company.

The 2018 Swift will also come with auto gear shift (AGS) and front airbag as a standard and is expected to be priced at ₹4.99 lakh to ₹7.99 lakh (ex-showroom).

It will be launched during the Auto Expo next month, which could be one of the biggest launches for a passenger car this year. The next biggest launch could be followed by the Hyundai Santro (code named AH2) expected to be re-launched in the second-half of this year.

Published on December 31, 2017

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