Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) is back to the game it started in 2012, of making sedans under four metres, the length limit which attracts lesser duties on a car. The new 2017 Dzire is indeed a better refresh, with which the company hopes to rekindle the competition in the entry-level sedan (A-) segment which saw a 14.67% sales dip in last fiscal.
First launched in 2008, the Dzire received a sub-four-metre makeover in 2012. Since then, it has clocked more than 1.9 lakh sales annually, contributing almost 50% to the compact sedan segment, in which six more models fight it out: Honda Amaze, Hyundai Xcent, Ford Figo Aspire, Tata Tigor and its predecessor Zest, Toyota Etios and Volkswagen Ameo.
It was not only second in overall passenger vehicle sales for last three fiscals, but also the only sedan in top five best-selling cars of FY 2016-17. So updating the Dzire was not really urgent but needed to keep up with the competition from the newer products.
“We have been working on this (new Dzire) inspite of the competition, not because of the competition. We are sure this product will grow and will also help the segment grow,” RS Kalsi, marketing and sales head of MSI, said during an exclusive preview of the new Dzire on Monday.
Over the last four fiscals since 2013, over 8.42 lakh units of the Dzire were sold while its closest competitors Xcent and Amaze clocked around 1.62 lakh and 2.33 lakh cumulative wholesales respectively.
As the compact sedan segment grew with more models, a major chunk of these cars were seen as cabs on the road, which dropped their aspiration value.
Though Maruti Suzuki will continue selling the old Swift Dzire as Dzire Tour to fleet-owners, the company made sure the new one looks different to change the perception. Hyundai too last week announced that it will continue to sell its previous edition of Xcent as Xcent Prime for cabs.
To make it distinct, Maruti Suzuki went beyond the regular facelifting process and started off from scratch. Designed on an all new on Suzuki’s 5th generation B-platform -- HEARTECT, the Dzire gets a more inclined A-pillar which reduces height of the new Dzire by 40 mm, making its silhouette more sedan-like. Wheelbase extended by 20mm and width by 50mm gives the car more room inside for three full-size adults in the back seat with good legroom.
There’s a new 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system which doubles up as a navigator when connected via Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and MirrorLink. For a change, the steering wheel is flat-bottomed instead of a regular circle, embedded with all the right keys. There’s a start-stop button too.
“We wanted to make the new Dzire not a ‘Swift with a boot’ but a completely new sedan, which is premium and has an aspirational value. And we have succeeded,” MSI’s engineering and research head CV Raman said.
The company will roll the new Dzire out its Manesar plant which has annual production capacity of 8.50 lakh units. “We had capacity constraints due to which we had to adjust production of certain models, including Dzire, in order to reduce long waiting period of models like Baleno and Vitara Brezza,” Kalsi said.
“With the new plant in Gujarat supplementing 1,50,000 units, we are ramping up the production and this will help reduce the waiting period,” he added.
The company will launch the new Dzire on May 16, roughly a month after its closest rival Xcent was refreshed. The new 2017 Swift will be seen in the country most likely by the start of 2018.