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The Indian automobile industry is one of the largest markets in the world where demand for passenger cars has seen a spurt in the recent times. Of late, the market growth has remained negative owing to a number of reasons, which left to auto makers trying to lure potential buyers by switching to various marketing strategies. With the rising fuel prices and increasing interest rates, the consumer sentiment in India has been on a low since the past eight months. Recently, consumers in India have resorted to using diesel cars because of their fuel efficient engines. Amid the rise in demand for diesel models, auto makers in India have launched various cars with diesel engines while the requirement for petrol cars have eventually declined.
Maruti Suzuki, in particular, is a brand that has had a highly illustrative and positive graph in the Indian car market. Since its inception in the year 1981, Maruti Suzuki has enjoyed a fantastic run in India, particularly in the passenger car segment. Over the years, the auto maker has gone on to become the country's largest passenger car manufacturer. From time to time, the company has produced vehicles that have performed beyond expectations, going on to become some of most celebrated cars in the history of the Indian car market. Even though Maruti Suzuki sells cars in almost all segment, hatchbacks are somewhat of a speciality and have catapulted the maker into a position of dominance.
It would be safe to say that a hatchback from Maruti Suzuki aptly represents the kind of vehicle most price-sensitive buyers in India want. India is a developing country that has a high population of people for whom purchasing a car is big thing and depends on several factors. Some of these factors include style, suitablity to road conditions, maintenance cost and most of all, affordability.
Major auto makers like Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai, Ford, Skoda, Volkswagen have stemmed their roots in the diesel space, while Japan based Honda is yet to introduce a full-fledged line up of diesel cars in the Indian auto market. Meanwhile, the passenger car segment in India is dominated by Maruti Suzuki, which has a share of around 40 per cent in the car market. As of now, the company manufacturers around 16 models, which fall under different segments. Maruti Suzuki offers various models under different fuel options like petrol, diesel, CNG and LPG.
However, Maruti Suzuki has somewhat of an expertise in producing hatchbacks for the Indian car market. Since its establishment, Maruti Suzuki has successfully launched several hatchbacks in India, some of which have gone on to achieve iconic statuses. Without a doubt, the most popular hatchback manufactured by Maruti Suzuki has been the M800, a car that, in a lot of ways, became a symbol for the country's auto market.
Apart from the M800, which is now a discontinued model, the company has introduced several other hatchbacks, such as Zen, Alto 800, Swift, A-Star, Ritz and WagonR. The Alto 800, touted as the replacement for the M800, is currently one of the most successful cars in India. The WagonR hatchback has also done really well, getting a positive response from both critics and buyers.
It is reported that Maruti Suzuki is working towards the launch of its famous WagonR model in a diesel variant, in order to efficiently compete in the dynamic and challenging small car segment. The WagonR diesel, when launched, will become the first model in India to be available in all four fuel options, namely petrol, diesel, CNG and LPG. According to reports, the auto maker is planning to introduce a smaller and lighter diesel engine in WagonR. Sources close to the development process stated that this small engine is also anticipated to come equipped within the upcoming Alto 800 Diesel. Till now, Maruti Suzuki has made no official statement regarding the launch of the WagonR diesel. However, analysts believe that the firm will introduce the diesel model during the festive season, which is considered to be the best time to buy a new car in India.
It is believed that the WagonR diesel will be seen offering competition to the likes of Chevrolet Beat and the upcoming new Grand i10. In the entry level diesel hatchbacks, Beat has maintained a stronghold due to its fuel efficient and powerful engine. It is powered by a 1.0-litre 3-cylinder in-line TCIC engine, which gives away a peak output of 57 bhp while churning out a maximum torque of 150 Nm. As claimed by the company, this engine gives away a best-in-class mileage of 25.44 kmpl, which remains its strongest point. So as far as the competition is concerned, Maruti Suzuki WagonR will face a stern test by rival Chevrolet Beat and it will be interesting to see, which car sets the sales registers ringing.
There are several strategical dimensions that can be attached to the launch of the diesel version of the WagonR. It is a known fact that the Indian car market has been enduring a torrid time over the past year. Sales for most companies have dropped considerably due to the prevalent slowdown in demand. The value of rupee has been falling at an alarming rate, resulting in widespread price rise throughout the country. Rates of fuel have also increased, thereby making buyers reluctant about purchasing a new car. The financial crisis in India has raised the cost levels of production for companies, forcing them to sell vehicles at higher rates. All these reasons have culminated into an unfavourable scenario for players in the auto industry. In times like these, according to industry experts, it is extremely important for car makers to keep coming up with new methods to lure customers. Apart from providing free maintenance packages and offering heavy discounts on cars, firms have adopted a method of launching new models to lure customers.
Maruti Suzuki, analysing the scenario, introduced the Stingray hatchback in India in the month of August at price of Rs. 4.09 lakh (ex-showroom). Industry experts believe that the Stingray, due to its aggressive pricing and brand value of Maruti Suzuki, will perform well in the Indian car market. Analysts have said that the biggest reason behind Maruti Suzuki's decision to launch the WagonR diesel is the price of petrol, which has seen a steep rise in the recent past. Due to this, buyers have started to opt for diesel cars as they are cost-effective and fuel-efficient. It is being said that Maruti Suzuki is speeding up the production of the WagonR diesel to keep sales going.
It would be interesting to see the performance of the diesel version of the WagonR hatchback, given the kind of stiff competition it will face. Potentially, the biggest competition of the WagonR diesel is going to be the Grand i10 from Hyundai, which has already been launched in the Indian car market. Said to be the cheapest diesel car from Hyundai, the Grand i10 has received good reviews for its styling and efficient engine. The South Korean auto maker has adopted an aggressive pricing strategy for the Grand i10, something which has been helpful. Maruti Suzuki, being a completely domestically based companies, always prices its vehicles aggressively. The WagonR diesel will provide stiff competition to the Grand i10. Some industry experts feel that the launch of the WagonR diesel is going to take the rivalry between Hyundai and Maruti Suzuki to another level. Over the past few years, Hyundai has managed to reduce the gap between itself and the country's largest passenger car maker. And now, the firm has made a number of aggressive moves to take on Maruti Suzuki.
Engine & Specification of Maruti Suzuki WagonR Diesel
The diesel variant of WagonR is expected to be powered with the domestically made engine by the Maruti Suzuki, which is likely to set new standards of performance in the Indian auto market. As stated, this new diesel engine will have an 800 cc displacement, which will also feature in the Alto 800. The new in-house developed 0.8-litre turbo diesel engine can also be seen in another entry level hatchback A-star, which means Maruti Suzuki is all set to introduce diesel engines in almost all of its cars whether it be an entry level or compact segment.
Although not much has been revealed in regard to this diesel engine, Industry experts are of a view that WagonR will get a three-cylinder 0.8-litre powertrain. It must be noted that the launch date of WagonR diesel is rumoured to be somewhere around the festive season this year, when demand for passenger cars usually goes up. Industry experts believe that it will be a perfect time for Maruti Suzuki to introduce the diesel variant of WagonR as the petrol version had enjoyed a huge success off late. And with the launch of diesel version of WagonR just around the festive season, experts are of a strong belief that it can receive an overwhelming response. Rumours are also rife that the company is testing the diesel model of Alto 800, which could be also launched along with the new WagonR. Since the WagonR diesel is going to be competing with the Grand i10, the performance of the engine is going to be absolutely critical to its success. Hyundai is known for manufacturing top class engines that render an efficient performance. Industry experts feel that Maruti Suzuki will need to deliver high quality in terms of engine performance to upstage the Grand i10.
Exterior, Interior and Safety features of Maruti Suzuki WagonR Diesel
As anticipated, there will be quite a few changes that will be made to the exteriors and interiors of the car. It must be noted that the company had planned a major overhaul in the engine department of the WagonR Diesel, while as far as its designing is concerned, it has been left unaltered. Interestingly, the company is expected to follow the same old designing of the existing WagonR model while keeping the same features as incorporated in the current generation model.
It is expected that the WagonR diesel will have a sloping roof for a dynamic and aggressive experience. Just like the petrol version, the WagonR diesel is expected to come with prominent wheel arches that provide a stable stance. The highlights of the WagonR diesel's exterior could be chrome grill with blue tinted headlamps, sweeping graphics, chrome engraved silver celebration plate and its V character. Exteriors of the WagonR diesel might also include body coloured wide bumpers, stylish tailgate, crystal effect tail lamps, side body mouldings, chrome back door garnish and moon rock silver roof rails.
Interiors of current generation WagonR are loaded with a number of convenience and comfort features. It is being said that the diesel version of the WagonR hatchback could get dual tone beige and black interiors, which feature elegant silver accents, panoramic view and amber lighting. The integrated music system of the WagonR petrol has an eagle wings design and supports USB and Aux-in. According to sources, in all likelihood, Maruti Suzuki will keep the interiors of the diesel variant similar to the petrol version. The interiors of the current version of the WagonR comprise ergonomically designed seatbelts, silver accentuated inside door handles, vanity mirror sun visor, needle punch floor carpet, stylish head rests (front and rear) and day/night inside rear view mirrors. According to sources, Maruti Suzuki is likely to include a number of safety features in the WagonR diesel. This hatchback is expected to come with Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), airbags, Rigid Case Structure (RCS), driver seatbelt indicator, rear demister and immobiliser with security alarm.
For the convenience of passengers, the WagonR diesel is expected to have a wide of range of advanced features. This hatchback might come with features like front power windows, central door locking, front passenger under seat tray, driver side storage space and adjustable steering.
|Model||Wagon R Diesel|
|Price||Rs. 4 lakh|
0.8-litre 3-cylinder diesel engine
Rs. 5 Lakhs to Rs. 10 Lakhs