Maruti Suzuki is India’s biggest automaker and has a huge 45% market share in the Indian auto industry. The company has captured the small car market since long and while it continues to grow in those mass-market segments, Maruti is also aiming to gain leadership in higher and premium segments. Maruti has ventured into the premium vehicle segment in the past with the Kizashi and Grand Vitara but hasn’t experienced success. The company is now replacing the ageing SX4 sedan with the Ciaz and hopes to win a lot of customers.
The Maruti Ciaz will be launched in October but bookings for the vehicle have already begun. The vehicle was officially unveiled earlier this week. While Maruti has done a good job with the vehicle, it still lacks in some departments such as brand image, engines, etc. It will be competing with some very competent sedans like the Honda City, Hyundai Verna, Volkswagen Vento, Skoda Rapid, etc. The C-segment market generates approximately 16,000-odd sales every month out of which the City’s sales add up to 7000-odd units while the Verna sells in 3000-odd numbers. Rest all sales come from the Vento, Rapid, Ford Fiesta, Fiat Linea, Nissan Sunny and Renault Scala.
With the Ciaz, Maruti is very confident of beating the Honda City. The company’s officials have stated that the sedan could turn out to be a nice upgrade for existing customers of the Swift DZire and other vehicles from the same stable. While Maruti does have excellent after sales service in the country, it does not carry the snob appeal that other manufacturers in this segment offer. Buyers have an impression that Maruti means cheap cars so it will take a lot of time for the company to change this perception.
Maruti Suzuki has been giving special training to its staff to deal with premium customers who would come to buy the Ciaz. Apart from the Ciaz, Maruti is also gearing up to launch a new compact SUV that will compete with the Renault Duster and Ford EcoSport. A new MPV will also come from the company’s stable. The Maruti Ciaz is estimated to come with a pricing of Rs. 8.5-12 lakhs (on-road, Mumbai).