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Maruti launches new hatchback Ritz

autos Updated: May 16, 2009 00:48 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Maruti takes a Ritzy risk

Looking to create a big “splash” in the super hatch segment, car market leader Maruti Suzuki India Ltd (MSIL) unveiled its second offering in the segment on Friday — the Ritz.

Perhaps ironically, the new car faces the toughest competition from its own sibling, the Swift, which has a 75 per cent marketshare in the segment.

MSIL is offering both petrol and diesel variants of the Ritz, priced at Rs 3.9-4.8 lakh and Rs 4.65-4.99 lakh respectively. While the car shares its 1.3 litre multijet diesel engine with the Swift, the petrol variant is powered by Maruti's newly-developed 1.2 litre K-series engine. It is almost Rs 10,000 cheaper than the Swift as its sub-1.2 litre engine attrracts lower excise duty.

“We are consciously expanding the product portfolio in the compact car segment as no two customer is alike and we do not want to miss out on any opportunity," said Shinzo Nakanishi, managing director, Maruti Suzuki India Ltd (MSIL). "There will be marginal cannibalisation between the Swift and Ritz, but like in the case of Zen and Wagon R, the two together will help expand the market."

The super hatch segment is set to witness a host of activity in the near future, with Honda and Fiat readying their own products, the Jazz and the Grande Punto respectively, next month. Volkswagen, Nissan and Toyota are also finalising their products for the segment. Other than the Swift, the super hatch segment currently has Hyundai’s Getz and i20, Chevrolet’s Aveo and U-VA and the Skoda Fabia.

Though the Ritz is priced aggressively (see table), the Swift’s success in the domestic market since its launch in 2005 has made the company evasive on its expectations for the Ritz.

"We have kept a flexible target for this year in view of the prevailing market situation," said IV Rao, managing executive officer (engineering and R&D), MSIL. "We have the capacity to supply any demand that maybe generated. The car has a lot in common with the Swift and that helped us in keeping costs low."

Ritz has a local content of 95 per cent.

The Ritz is named Splash overseas. The company could not use the name in India as it is already registered with Ford India.