Within a month of its launch, India’s largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki’s latest small car Celerio has garnered bookings of over 22,000 units, with more than half of the share accounted for by the automatic gear-shift variants.
Launched during the Auto Expo last month as a replacement of two of Maruti’s underperforming cars — A Star and Estilo, Celerio is the most affordable gearless small car in India.
“There is a lot of buzz around the car across the country and we have received over 22,000 bookings so far,” said Mayank Pareek, chief operating officer, marketing and sales, Maruti Suzuki India Ltd. “Around 51% of the bookings are for the automatic variants and it is much higher than what we had anticipated. The demand for that version is not restricted to urban centres alone and even in smaller cities we are witnessing high interest for the technology.”
At the time of the launch, the company had said nearly a fourth of every small car consumer in India looks at the option of an automatic gearbox but in actual sales, the number falls to low single-digit percentage because a higher cost, relatively lower fuel economy and more expensive maintenance detracts consumers. Celerio uses less sophisticated technology in its automatic version but costs only Rs 30,000 more than the geared versions with no loss in fuel economy.
“I think the share of auto gear shift will stabilise at around 35% in the future but that is more than what we had thought,” Pareek added.
The initial response to the Celerio is in line with that of Honda Amaze, Hyundai Grand i10 and Ford EcoSport last year.
Amaze received bookings of over 20,000 units in its first month and went on to become Honda’s largest selling car ever in a year in India. The EcoSport got close to 30,000 bookings in its first two months, while Grand i10 got 15,000 bookings in its first month.