S Ronendra Singh Maruti Suzuki India (MISL) said that it has received more than 30,000 bookings for its all-new generation Swift to be launched on February 8 at the Auto Expo. But, the company also hinted that price of the third generation may not be as consumer-friendly as the previous two generations and is expected to be much higher.

The outgoing Swift had a price tag of ₹5.23 lakh as a starting price. The company had started the bookings last month with a booking amount of ₹11,000.

“We have received around 30,000 bookings till now, but will see the real numbers when we announce the price.

As we have not announced the price we can’t have a say on number of bookings as some people might cancel the bookings after the real prices are announced,” Kenichi Ayukawa, MD & CEO, MSIL, told BusinessLine .

He said Swift is a very important product for Maruti as after the launch of Swift in 2005, everything changed in the product portfolio of MSIL. For the latest one also, the focus right now is more into it than other products. “We are focusing the production in Gujarat plant right now and have shifted the production of Baleno to Manesar because demand for Swift will be more and the Gujarat plant has a capacity of 2.5 lakh a year right now. Baleno also has a back log of 30,000 units right now, so we will have flexibility of producing it at Gujarat too. But, more than 90 per cent of the Baleno production is happening in Manesar right now,” Ayukawa said.

Meanwhile, speaking about the current scenario of the electric vehicles (EVs), he said instead of electric cars, the government should promote hybrid cars in the run up to the 2030 plan.

“If we have to shift manufacturing to EV, we have to shift localisation in many other things too. That is why we are proposing hybrid system right now so that internal combustion engine (ICE) cars are not scrapped right away,” he said.

Hybrid system

Looking at the environment also, hybrid system is better before we leapfrog into EV directly because hybrid system will still have an engine along with the motor and the battery. “Even of 5-10 per cent improvement by them will be a lot of contribution on fuel consumption and saving energy of the country right now,” he said.

The company that is planning to manufacture the EVs in the Gujarat plant, is right now doing feasibility studies on how much localisation can happen and then see some technical arrangements.

He said for launching an electric car, it would mean availability of charging points from day one of the purchase of the product.

Also, one cannot think of exchange of the battery so easily of an EV for replacing with a charged one because it is too heavy (around 250 kg each) unlike the batteries of e-rickshaws.