Suzuki Motor Corporation, which owns 54.20 per cent in Maruti Udyog Ltd (MUL), yesterday rolled out European-style compact hatchback Swift from its stable. The car is available in three variants, LX1, VX1 and ZX1, priced at Rs 3.87 lakh, Rs 4.05 lakh and Rs 4.85 lakh respectively (ex-showroom-Delhi). The company expects to deliver the vehicle in the first week of June.
Maruti Udyog MD Jagdish Khattar (right) and Jt. MD S.
Takeuchi at the launch of the Swift in New Delhi on Wednesday.
Swift has been positioned at the premium A2 segment between Zen and Esteem, and the closest competitors will be Hyundai Getz, Ford Fusion, Fiat Palio and Opel Sail. The car has been aimed at repositioning Maruti Suzuki as a stylish brand for the new global Indian, sports a 1.3 litre gasoline engine.
"'We have already booked 8,000 to 9,000 units till now,"' MUL Managing Director Jagdish Khattar said. The in-house investment for the car has been Rs 246 crore. He said the company plans to sell 6 lakh vehicles for the current fiscal.
Khattar said that 86 per cent of the car is indigenous and this is what has enabled the company to introduce the car at a highly competitive price.
Asked if this an Esteem engine that has been used, he said, "For the Swift, the engine intake and exhaust manifolds have been redesigned for better engine performance. The engine peripherals have been redefined. This has helped the power output of 87bhp @ 6000 rpm.
The base model has front and rear fog lamps, wide tread 165/80 R14 steel wheel tyres and flared arches for better stability combined with side impact beams. The LXi will have power steering and airconditioning, but manual controls for doors and locking.
The VXi has front and rear electric windows, central locking for four doors, front and rear fog lamps and key-not-removed warning buzzer. Sporting ABS with electronic brake distribution (EBD) as an option.
The top-of-the-line ZXi has dual front airbags, ABS with EBD and 14-inch alloys and more-than-normal bells and whistles, rear window wiper and demister besides keyless entry.
On the company's plans to introduce a diesel variant, he said, "The Maruti-Suzuki diesel engine plant is now being set up. With availability of local diesel engines in 2007, we would be considering the diesel option."
The marketing initiatives have already started with the tie-up with Yash Raj banner. The film, Bunty and Babli, is going to be released on May 27 and as the car rolls out to Indian roads, so will it be seen on celluloid too. On the reason for this association, the spokesperson said, "This is the first time that Maruti is attempting to do film advertising and we are looking at innovative promotions. The movie, one of the most eagerly awaited flicks, is a road romance directed by Shaad Ali. The car's launch and the release of the film will be close to each other and this will help in recall value. The attributes that Yash Raj films carry matches well with the core values that the car stands for-style and finesse."
Media agency Initiative India has also come up with a clutter breaker idea for Maruti's new product, Swift, wherein each channel (news and niche) has been given creative freedom to make their own capsule for Swift.
The campaign is such that each channel has used their footage and merged it with Swift's or used Swift's footage and cut it to an edit. Each Swift promo will be different on different channels. Hence, you will see Swift amid nature, news, football match etc resulting in different capsules across 23 channels.
It's the attractive pricing for Swift that is going to woo the customers. However, this is just limited to the introductory offer. Khattar merely mentioned that the offer would last for substantial time. Interestingly, when contacted, Hyundai motors said that they have no plans to revise the pricing of Getz, which ahs been priced at Rs 4.5 lakh for its base end model.