India’s largest carmaker, Maruti Suzuki India Ltd, is all set to launch an improved version of its bestselling compact car, the Swift, next month as it looks to thwart competition.
Swift has been a raging success for the firm ever since it was launched in the summer of 2005, with sales growing from under 55,000 in 2005-06 to around 1.5 lakh units in 2010-11. The car however has been in the thick of competition, with global biggies like Toyota, Volkswagen, Honda, Nissan, Ford and GM all looking to eat into Swift’s marketshare.
“The new Swift would be a completely new car though it may not look like one at the outset,” said IV Rao, managing executive officer (engineering), MSIL. “It looks more or less the same but will be bigger and offer more space. It would also have all new interiors which would be the best in class and we have also tried to redress some issues that customers faced with the existing model.”
The new car was launched in developed markets like Japan and Europe last year, but Maruti chose to hold back its launch in India — possibly to align its production against the waiting period, and also to take a look at what the competition has to offer.
Experts feel that the high stakes being attached to the refreshed model is an indication of Maruti’s drying product pipeline and its reliance on age-old platforms.
"If we discount the Eeco, the last car of any significance that Maruti launched was the Ritz, way back in 2009," said a senior automotive analyst. "They do not have an exciting line up too which shows poorly on a company that sells over a dozen cars in India, most of them small and wants to remain a dominant Number 1 in this market. Swift is the newest Suzuki has to offer and Maruti knows it cannot go wrong with this."