Maruti's new Swift sedan version expected to hit in February

Tuesday 13 December 2011, 12:16 PM by

In a bid to take maximum advantage of the government's excise duty structure, Maruti Suzuki has decided to offer yet another variant of the hatchback king Swift. With this the company aims to attract optimal profits with minimum of efforts and strategies being implemented.

The upcoming sub-four metre sedan is expected to roll-out in February and has been given the name ‘Swift 3.99', as of now. The new version of Swift is likely to be the most aggressively priced sedan ever produced by Maruti. Swift 3.99 would probably be sold simultaneously with the existing variant, the elongated Dzire sedan. The upcoming new version of Swift is expected to carry a price tag that is less by Rs. 50,000 compared to the purchasing cost of Dzire.

It is believed that the car maker plans to see all three body types running on the roads together; a source closely associated with the development confirmed. “Trial production has already been done,” he added.

Maruti's new Swift sedan

According to an industry expert, “The Dzire sales are still strong enough to not pull it out of the market. Adding a third body style in the Swift range will mean incremental volumes without much higher investments, especially when auto sales are slowing and companies are looking to delay capacity expansion.”

Swift 3.99 would emerge in the auto market on the heels of the expansion spree that has been undertaken at Maruti's second manufacturing facility in Manesar, which was burdened under labour unrest some time back. The company is striving to increase the daily production to 900 units, from the present 200, at the second new assembly plant in Manesar by January. Eventually the total capacity of the company would come out to be 2,100 units a day.

A number of car makers have given rise to all-new body variants in order to ride on the shoulders of dual excise duty slabs meant for passenger vehicles, which was announced during the 2008-09 Budget. As a matter of fact, aiming to push the small car sales, the government shot in the arm by imposing a 10% lower excise duty on these cars. All vehicles that were less than four metres in length and carried engines of below 1.2-litre (petrol) and 1.5-litre (diesel) capacities came under the purview. On the other hand, cars that were more than four metres in length had 22 per cent excise duty levied on them.

Tata Motors was also seen banking on the same strategy, using its Indica and Indigo range, wherein a host of new body types viz. the Indica hatch, Indigo sedan, Indigo CS and Indigo XL elongated sedan were introduced. Speculations are rife that Mahindra & Mahindra is also joining the league by working on a three model plan for its Verito sedan.

Abdul Majeed, partner and leader of the automotive practice for PricewaterhouseCoopers India, said, “You have different customers in every segment, so more products would mean more customers. Companies are optimising their portfolio by trying to take advantage of the excise rules – sub four metre versions result in 4-5 per cent cost savings.”

The diesel versions of Maruti Swift hatchback and Dzire that are amongst the most popular models in the company's portfolio, are responsible for 80 per cent of the total demand. In November, Dzire contributed for about 13 per cent that is 10,403 units of the car maker's sales, whereas close to one lac people are waiting for deliveries of the new Swift hatchback.

Thus, Maruti is turning every single stone to raise itself from the current position that has been downtroddened by plethora of unbidden trends in the market as well as its plant.

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