India's leading automaker Maruti Suzuki India Ltd ( MSIL) on Wednesday launched a new model of its bestselling car Swift in an attempt to regain its sliding market share in the premium hatchback category.
The price of the car ranges from Rs 4.22 lakh to Rs 5.53 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi) for the petrol version and Rs 5.17 lakh to Rs 6.38 lakh for the diesel-powered vehicle.
New Maruti Swift: What has changed?
The earlier version of Swift was priced between Rs 4.09 lakh and Rs 5.38 lakh across petrol and diesel options.
The petrol variant is powered by a 1.2- litre K series engine, while the diesel version has a 1.3- litre engine.
"I am confident that the new Swift will create new benchmarks with its improved fuel efficiency, stylish and sportier looks and high performance," said Maruti Suzuki managing director and chief executive Shinzo Nakanishi.
"We have launched the new Swift at a time when there is significant demand for the outgoing model," Nakanishi said.
The company expects the new version to sell around 18,000 units per month, against the current sales of the old Swift of around 12,000 units per month, according to Mayank Pareek, managing executive officer, marketing and sales, Maruti Suzuki.
"We have got very good initial response. We expect sales to increase during the festive season.
Swift will certainly help revive the sentiment in the market," he said.
"Even before the launch, we have received more than 50,000 bookings for the new Swift. We are increasing the production of the car to about 17,000 units in the next few months from 12,000 units currently," Nakanishi said.
There is already a waiting period of two- three months for the new model.
MSIL said that it has invested Rs 550 crore in the development of the car, which has been built with more than 95 per cent localised parts. The car is built on a new platform that is lightweight, longer and wider than its earlier version.
MSIL claims that the mileage of the petrol variant of the new Swift is four per cent better than the earlier version, while the diesel variant's mileage is six per cent better than earlier.
Swift's first model was launched in India in 2005, followed by the diesel version in 2007.
The new Swift will be positioned against Hyundai's i20, Toyota's Etios Liva, Ford's Figo, General Motors' Beat, Volkswagen's Polo and Nissan's Micra.
Even Honda is planning to launch Brio, which will further fuel competition in this segment and is to be priced between Rs 4 lakh and Rs 5 lakh.
When asked if the company would also introduce the sedan version of the new Swift, Nakanishi said, "We should have a new sedan type of vehicle of this car, but no timeline has been fixed." Last week, the company had said it has cut production of most of its models, including the best selling Alto, during the current month because of a slump in demand in the domestic market.