With new cars coming every now-and-then, competition in the Indian automobile industry is getting fierce and Maruti Suzuki India, being the biggest market shareholder, is on everyone's target. Maruti's current market share has fallen over the years owing to stiff competition and maturing purchase decisions of the consumers. It is now close to 50% while it used to be 70% at its peak in the mid-to-late 1990s.
Hyundai is one company that affected the sales of Maruti Suzuki, and in a sense became a threat for MSI. The reason why I said Hyundai is a threat for MSI is because of the exceptional sales performance shown by the Korean automotive giant in a relatively short span of time. Hyundai entered the Indian market in 1996 and rolled out its first product - the much-famous Santro - in 1998 and soon became the country's second largest carmaker. Today it is the biggest passenger vehicle exporter in India. Now, when manufacturers like Honda and Ford, too, have joined the race against Maruti Suzuki India and are launching impressive products, while expanding their touch-points in India at the same time, it has become more of a necessity for MSI to bring in new cars and facelift some of its top-selling products. So, to keep enjoying the Numero Uno position, Maruti Suzuki is planning to bring in several new and refreshed products in next two years. This year we'll see the facelifted Swift and Swift Dzire and the brand new Maruti Ciaz, while the XA Alpha based compact SUV and SX4 S-Cross will enter the market in 2015.
In this article, I'll talk about the products that MSI will launch this year.
2014 Maruti Swift facelift
Already launched in markets like Japan and parts of Europe, the Swift facelift will hit the Indian shores in the second half of 2014. While the overall design of the car will remain almost similar to the existing model, new L-shaped LEDs, revised fog lamps and bumper with silver detailing will give it a refreshed face. The top-end variant of the car might have 16-inch alloy wheels as an option, while the non-alloy wheel variants might be offered with new wheel covers. The company might also launch the 2014 Swift in a new 'boost blue' metallic shade. There will be no major changes made to the interior, save for the blue-stitching that the seats may get. There might also be an auto-up touch function for the front passenger's window, automatic headlamps, start-stop button and electronically adjustable side view mirrors. There will be no change made to engine options.
Expected Launch: Festive season, 2014
2014 Maruti Swift Dzire facelift
Since Dzire is essentially a 3-box (sort of) version of the Swift, all the changes made to the Swift will also be seen on the Dzire facelift. Mechanically too, the Swift Dzire facelift will have no changes. It will continue to come with a 1.2-litre K-Series petrol and a 1.3-litre multijet diesel engines.
Expected launch: Festive season, 2014
Maruti Suzuki Ciaz
Unveiled at the 2014 Indian Auto Expo, the Ciaz attracted a lot of attention. This is one of the most crucial launches from the stables of Maruti Suzuki. The mid-sized sedan segment has been doing moderately well for the industry and has given companies like Honda and Hyundai great reason to smile over the past few years. Maruti Suzuki hasn't been able to make as much of an impact as it would've ideally hoped with its not-so-successful SX4. Ciaz will be the SX4 replacement for Maruti.
The Ciaz takes its design inspiration from the 'Suzuki Authentics Concept' which was first showcased at the Shanghai Motor Show in 2013. With new extended headlamps, pronounced grille, increased dimensions and an all-new interior design, the car looks completely different from the SX4. However, it still broadly shares the platform with the SX4. Engine options to be offered with the Ciaz may include a 1.4-litre K2 petrol to go up against the cheaper rivals in the segment while a more powerful 1.6-litre petrol model will take the battle straight to the Honda City and Hyundai Verna. The 1.3-litre DDiS diesel engine would continue to fight the diesel battle in the mid-size category. Both petrol and diesel engines will be mated to five-speed manual transmission. An automatic gearbox too is expected to be on offer.
Expected Launch: Third quarter, 2014