Maruti Suzuki India’s stylish premium hatchback, which is sold exclusively from the carmaker’s Nexa showrooms, has driven past the 900,000-units sales milestone in the domestic market. Launched in October 2015, the Baleno has, till end-March 2021, clocked cumulative sales of 912,169 units, comprising 808,303 petrol variants and 103,866 diesel trims. Having exited the diesel engine market in March 2020, the Baleno, like all Marutis, now thrives only on petrol power. In March 2021, a total of 21,217 units were sold.
En route to the 900,000-units milestone, the snazzy Baleno has consistently set new benchmarks: it was the fastest among premium hatchbacks in India to reach the 600,000 unit milestone – in 44 months. While it zipped past the 700,000 mark in 51 months, the 800,000 sales landmark was surpassed 10 months later and now the 900,000 mark in 66 months since launch.
The Baleno is Maruti Suzuki’s largest hatchback and available with a choice of petrol and mild-hybrid petrol engines. A five-speed manual gearbox comes as standard fitment, though a petrol-CVT automatic gearbox combo is an option too. In addition to an exterior and equipment upgrade in January 2019, the Maruti Balenowas also among the first movers in the company’s line-up to switch its 1.2-litre petrol powertrain to meet BS VI standards much earlier before the April 2020 deadline.
This spacious and feature-rich premium hatchback which competes with the Hyundai i20, Honda Jazz, Volkswagen Polo, Tata Altroz and now also the likes of the Nissan Magnite and Renault Kiger, remains a popular buy and, not surprisingly, is a regular in India’s best-selling cars every month.
When the Baleno was introduced a little over five years ago, it captivated hatchback buyers with its snazzy looks and technologically-advanced features such as new 17.78cm SmartPlay infotainment system, TFT multi-information display and the option of a CVT. Furthermore, enhanced comfort levels, good fuel economy and driving pleasure helped clinch the deal with many customers.
Taking the slowdown in its stride
The Baleno is a match-winner for Maruti Suzuki, racing ahead of the competition. As per Autocar Professional’s India sales and data analytics, a total of 912,169 units have been sold over 66 months. Do the math and it works out to a monthly sales average of 13,820 units since launch. What’s not to like?
Of the six fiscal years that it has been present, the Baleno has registered year-on-year growth in all but the last two. FY2020 with its prolonged depressed market conditions impacted sales, keeping them down to 180,413 units, down 15 percent YoY. And in the Covid-impacted FY2021, it sold 163,445 units, down 9 percent YoY. But what is admirable about the performance is that these numbers have been achieved in a very difficult market environment, and that too without a diesel option.
Given that the Baleno is currently averaging monthly sales of over 20,000 units, expect it to zip past the 1,000,000 or million-units mark this August before the current-generation model retires to make way for the brand-new model from the company.