The premium hatch segment continues to dominate the auto industry, with 6.57 lakh cars sold last year. Maruti Suzuki India Limited (MSIL) is betting big on the premium hatchbacks although the SUVs are a greater attraction among buyers.
“It is the responsibility of the market leader to provide wheels at every price point,” MSIL MD and CEO Kenichi Ayukawa said at the launch of the new Baleno on Wednesday.
“If we serve the aspirations and efforts of 1.3 billion people in India, the GDP can grow to great heights. Many of us have two-wheelers and many aspire for a car. It is the responsibility of the market leader to provide wheels to their dreams,” Ayukawa said.
“We think, for mass motorisation of India, a compact car is an ideal solution. When we consider the space availability on roads, parking lots and houses, a compact car is a more sustainable solution for society. A market leader has to be present in all segments.”
“We have to provide products in the compact car space at all price points. Our parent Suzuki Motor Corporation along with our engineering team at Maruti Suzuki has the expertise to provide a delightful package in compact cars,” the Maruti chief said.
The company launched the new Baleno at a price ranging from Rs 6.35 lakh to Rs 9.49 lakh. It is also offering the Baleno for subscription at Rs 13,999 per month.
While the SUV segment is a fast growing segment and MSIL preparing to launch its compact SUV developed jointly with Toyota, the Japanese car maker continues to focus on the premium hatch spending Rs 1,150 crore on developing the new Baleno, which is a “full model change”.
“Baleno has been among the top five best-sellers in the market and it has reached the one million sales milestone the fastest,” added Ayukawa. Stating that the brand helped MSIL strengthen its position in the premium hatch segment, the MD said: “It also helped establish the Nexa sales channel.”
Nexa is Maruti’s premium cars sales channel, which contributes 20 per cent to Maruti’s sales. “Nexa helped us win the confidence of customers who were otherwise not considering Maruti,” he added.
The Baleno is being offered with an automatic gear shift option. “We have democratised the AGS two-pedal technology which is ideal for urban spaces and gives a 15 per cent improvement in fuel efficiency,” said Shashank Srivastava, executive director MSIL at the launch.