Maruti Suzuki India, which currently has a 52.18 percent market share in the passenger vehicle market in India, is seeing some of its models record smart gains. An analysis by Autocar Professional reveals that sales of both the premium Baleno hatchback and the Ciaz sedan have crossed the 150,000 unit milestone.
The popular Baleno has driven past the 150,000 unit sales n 18 months. Launched on October 26, the snazzy-looking car took less than a year to hit the 100,000 milestone.
The Baleno, which has been averaging sales of nearly 9,500 units for the past 11 months, has sold a total of 149,075 units till end-February 2017 and has been a consistent member of the monthly Top 10 best-selling passenger cars. The Baleno is the Nexa channel’s most successful model, and has proven to be a volume seller in the premium segment, since the S-Cross met with a tepid response.
The popularity of the hatchback hasn’t dimmed despite nearly three subsequent price hikes – in January 2016 by up to Rs 12,000 followed by another one in March 2016 of up to Rs 16,699 and in August 2016 by Rs 10,000 (all prices, ex-showroom, Delhi). More recently, on March 3, 2017, Maruti launched the sportier Baleno RS in a bid to expand the car’s appeal.
The Ciaz, launched in October 2014, has crossed the 150,000 unit sales mark this month. The last 50,000 sales have come in the past nine months, having crossed the 100,000 unit sales mark in July 2016, 19 months after launch.
From launch till end-February 2017, the Ciaz has sold a total of 146,112 units. Taking the average sale of 5,411 units for the past 11 months, the car will have easily breezed past the 150,000 mark this month. Maruti Suzuki will announce its March 2017 sales number tomorrow. Highest monthly sales for the Ciaz till now have been in September 2016 (6,544) and January 2017 (6,530).
The Ciaz’s diesel variant dominates and of the car’s total sales till now, the diesel has sold 84,764 units and the petrol 61,348 units. The Ciaz, which goes head to head with the Honda City, Hyundai Verna, Volkswagen Vento and the Skoda Rapid in the premium midsize sedan market, has become the leader in the segment. With sales of 59,530 units, it is ahead of the rest of the pack. In comparison, in the same 11-month period, the Honda City has sold 51,713 units, the Vento 8,977 units and the Skoda Rapid 8,323 units.
Ciaz is now a Nexa product
Meanwhile, Maruti Suzuki India has confirmed that the Ciaz sedan is to be sold through its premium Nexa auto retail channel from April 1, 2017. With this, the Ciaz becomes the fifth Maruti model and the sole sedan to be sold through the premium Nexa dealerships after the S-Cross, Baleno, Baleno RS and the Ignis.
As a result of the sales channel shift, the Ciaz will drop the badging system of standard Maruti models and adopt the nomenclature system synonymous with models retailed through the premium Nexa chain. As per the Nexa nomenclature system, the Ciaz variants will now be listed as Sigma, Delta, Zeta and Alpha – in line with all Nexa products – and not the existing grades of L, V, Z and Z+.
It is believed that there is to be no facelift to the Ciaz this year, with the car just being shifted to Maruti’s premium Nexa channel. Changes are likely to be only down to the deletion of badging on the boot lid with Nexa cars traditionally only carrying the Suzuki logo and the car name. Maruti will add a new ‘Nexa Blue’ paint as well.
Under the hood, the car will carry forward with its existing powertrains, which mean the petrol model will be powered by the 93hp, 1.4-litre K14 motor, and the diesel will use the tuned 90hp, 1.3-litre DDiS200 engine equipped with SHVS mild-hybrid technology. Both engines will come paired with a five-speed manual gearbox as standard, with the petrol additionally getting the option of a four-speed automatic gearbox.
As it currently stands, regular Maruti dealers are only accepting bookings of the Ciaz variants that they have in stock.
250-strong Nexa dealer network hits the 200,000 sales mark
In March 2017, the Nexa channel completed 20 months since launch in July 2015. Since then, Maruti has set up 250 Nexa dealerships across the country. On January 30 this year, Maruti Suzuki opened its 200th Nexa showroom – Nexa LB Nagar (Kalyani Motors) – in Hyderabad, expanding the Nexa channel to 121 cities across the country. And, in the past two months, has added another 50 more. Between July 2015 till January 2017, over 185,000 vehicles had been sold through Nexa. It is expected that by end-March 2017, sales would have crossed the 200,000 mark.
Maruti Suzuki clearly is bullish on the Nexa channel, which is one of its most important initiatives to help achieve its two million sales target in 2020.
Commenting on the Nexa initiative, RS Kalsi, executive director (Marketing and Sales), Maruti Suzuki India, said: “Nexa has established itself as a successful model with over 200,000 cars being delivered in less than two years of launch. Ciaz at Nexa gives us the confidence to do even better and strengthen the Maruti Suzuki brand. Through this move, we will be able to offer the Nexa experience to new customers. At the same time, Ciaz will help us achieve our sustained long term goal of 20 percent sales through Nexa.”