Maruti Suzuki to advance launch of new-gen Swift Dzire by a year2 min read . Updated: 28 Dec 2015, 09:20 PM IST
As against the earlier plan of launching the new model in fiscal 2018-19, it is likely to go on sale in 2017-18
Maruti Suzuki India Ltd is planning to advance the introduction of its new-generation Swift Dzire sedan by almost a year as it seeks to protect its turf in the face of competition, said two people familiar with the company’s plans.
The company is also planning to launch a Dzire Tour model, aimed at taxi operators, with a petrol engine. Maruti currently has only the diesel version of the Dzire Tour running in the cab market. The petrol model can be retrofitted with a CNG kit to meet the new norms in Delhi.
A Supreme Court directive which mandates that all cars falling in the commercial segment in Delhi to convert into CNG (compressed natural gas) by 31 March has prompted the move, said one of the two people cited above, requesting anonymity.
A Maruti spokesperson declined to comment. Maruti, which launched the Dzire in 2010, introduced a new version of the model earlier this year. The company plans to introduce a variant with an automatic gear shift next month.
As against the earlier plan of launching the new-generation Dzire in fiscal 2018-19, Maruti now plans to introduce the car in 2017-18, the year it is scheduled to launch the new-generation Swift, said an executive at an auto component firm, which got a request for quotation from Maruti last week.
The Dzire, based on the Swift platform, is the second-largest selling car model in India after the Alto. The new Dzire will roll out from the facility of Suzuki Motor Corp. in Gujarat, which is expected to be operational during fiscal 2016-17.
In September, Mint reported Maruti’s plans to revamp its line of popular models that includes the Swift, Dzire and Ertiga as part of a plan to double its annual sales to 2 million units by 2020.
The three models will carry a new design with improved engine specifications and full-body changes.
The first car based on the new platform will be a revamped Swift and it will be introduced by 2018, Mint reported.
The move to launch the new Dzire, said Nitesh Sharma, an analyst at Phillip Capital India Pvt. Ltd, will further strengthen the company’s position in the domestic car market. The model accounts for 18-20% of the company’s total sales volume.
“Maruti’s strong product pipeline holds it in good stead and will help it in fending off competition from newer rivals," said Sharma.
The local arm of the Japanese car maker has lined up 15 new launches till 2020, he added.
The decision to introduce the new Dzire model earlier than scheduled will help Maruti stave off competition from rivals who are ready with new models. Models that are likely to hit the market soon include Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd’s compact SUV KUV100; Tata Motors Ltd’s Zica hatchback and Sway sedan; and Volkswagen’s new Polo.
The ageing Dzire model may not be able to withstand competition from newer models from rivals, said the second person cited above.
The company’s successful premium hatchback Baleno, which is retailed from its Nexa showrooms, is already nibbling into the sales of Swift, said Sharma.