India's largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki India Ltd on Monday launched a new offering in the entry level hatchback segment in India, the Maruti Suzuki S-Presso priced at Rs 3.69 - 4.48 lakh for the four variants with manual transmission and Rs 4.675 - 4.91 lakh for the two variants with automatic (AGS) transmission. Maruti Suzuki S-Presso is the company's first new car launch in the entry level segment in India since 2010 when it had launched the 1 litre version of its bestselling small car Alto K10.
Available in a total of 6 variants the Maruti Suzuki S-Presso hatchback is powered by a BS VI compliant 1.0-litre petrol engine tuned for 68 bhp power and 90 NM of torque, it is paired with a 5-speed manual and AMT gearbox options. Maruti claims it has a fuel economy of 21.7 kpl (as per ARAI standards).
With the S Presso, Maruti is attempting to bring in elements of an SUV in an entry level hatchback format that was first attempted by Renault Kwid in 2015. At 3,565mm, it is 20mm longer than the Alto K10, and has a 20mm longer wheelbase too, but it falls short of Kwid's length (3,679mm) and wheelbase (2,422mm). It is however significantly taller than both at 1,564mm compared to Kwid's 1,478mm and Alto K10's 1,475mm. Its ground clearance is identical to that of the Kwid's 180 mm. Incidentally, Renault is planning to launch a refreshed version of the Kwid itself just a day later on Tuesday.
"We have been leading the evolution of the Indian automobile industry since 1983 since the launch of the Maruti 800 and our endeavor has been to provide to the Indian consumers mobility of global standards at affordable prices. The addition of another new car in the entry mini segment with the S Presso only furthers that," said Kenichi Ayukawa, managing director and CEO, Maruti Suzuki India Ltd. "The compact car is the natural choice of the Indian consumer but the entry level compact segment today needs a fresh design language that is bold, confident and dynamic. So we developed the S Presso with mini SUV attributes that caters to the desires of today's consumers."
The Maruti Suzuki S-Presso comes at a time when the automotive sector in India is undergoing an unprecedented crisis with sales declining for ten straight months till August and in 13 of the last 14 months. Maruti has borne the brunt of this slowdown. Its passenger vehicle sales have declined by 27 percent between April and August this year.
The entry level mini segment where the company has a virtual stranglehold has been particularly badly hit. First time customers that comprise bulk of the consumers in this category have shied away from buying cars. In the first five months of this fiscal, sales in this segment have declined by over 55 percent for the company. Maruti is hoping the S Presso will help it achieve a turnaround not only for itself but for the industry as a whole.
"The current turbulence in the market presents a short term challenge but we are confident in India's long term growth story," Ayukawa said. "We believe the S-Presso will help to change the sentiment of the market. This festive season, this new car will help re-energise the industry on growth path. Nothing like this has ever been attempted before in this segment. The S Presso has an aggressive outside and bold and dynamic inside keeping in mind the aspiration of the youth of India. This car displays the next generation design language for compact vehicles for Maruti."