Once bitten, but not twice shy, industry leader Maruti Udyog Ltd on Monday launched its all-new Sedan, SX4, putting behind memories of Baleno, which was discontinued last year after falling sales.
Powered by a 1.6 litre global M-series engine and built on a new platform, the SX4 has also been priced aggressively, as Maruti takes aim at the currently popular models in the class, including Honda's City, Hyundai's Verna and Ford's Fiesta.
The SX4 has an indigenisation level of 79 per cent, and its engine has been geared in advance to meet future emission standards conforming to the Euro IV and Euro V norms.
Managing Director Jagdish Khattar said there was a market for Sedan and the company needs to reinforce its presence in the segment. "SX4 Sedan is just the right car with which Maruti can reinforce its presence in the A3 segment and enhance its leadership," he said.
The car will be available in two variants Vxi and Zxi and will be available to customers for Rs 6.18 lakh and Rs 6.89 lakh (ex-showroom in Delhi). The Zxi variant is also available with a leather packet Rs 7.24 lakh.
Khattar said the company has already dispatched 1,500 units of the new car and would send out another lot of 500 units on Tuesday. With the dispatch of a second lot, SX4 would be present across the country, he said, adding there were no plans to export the SX4. However, the Sedan will be unveiled in the US and European markets in the next two months, where Maruti's parent Suzuki Motor can drive sales from local units.
Khattar declined to set any sales target for SX4, saying targets are often surpassed and result in constraints on production. "We will try to meet customer demand," he said.
Meanwhile, Maruti is planning to launch this year a new version of its utility vehicle Vitara and is also working on a new model for exports to Europe. "The new car should be available to the customers in the next 18-20 months. With this, we will be able to raise our exports to 2 lakh units per annum by 2009-10," Khattar said.
The company's exports have declined substantially in the past two years with Maruti pulling out of the European market. The company hopes to export 50,000 units this financial year by tapping demand in South America, Africa and other non-European regions.