The Baleno, the premium hatchback from Maruti Suzuki, the Indian arm of Suzuki Motor Corporation and the bellwether of the Indian passenger vehicle market, has zipped past a landmark sales milestone in the domestic market in 49 months.
Launched in October 2015, the Baleno has crossed the 650,000-unit mark with cumulative sales totaling 663,737 units till end-October with a staggering 84 percent of the volumes coming from the petrol variants – 561,135 units. In comparison, diesel variants have contributed 102,602 units. The car saw maximum sales coming in FY2019 with a total of 212,330 units going home to buyers in the 12-month period. After getting launched, the Baleno almost immediately clicked with customers, leading to a tally of 44,697 units in H2 of FY2016 itself, a monthly average of 7,449 units.
In fact, the Baleno is the model that can be attributed to have infused life into the company’s premium Nexa retail network which it kicked off in August 2015 with the launch of its flagship product – the S-Cross crossover – but with lacklustre sales. The Baleno went on to sell 190,480 units in FY2018 and has sold 95,426 units during the first six months of the current fiscal already.
A modern and appealing design, acres of cabin space, aggressive price tag, plentiful features and multiple powertrain options including petrol and diesel, as well as a petrol CVT, saw consumers turning to Maruti to fulfill their premium hatchback requirements in the sub-Rs 10 lakh price bracket. Maruti also launch a 1-litre turbo petrol in the form of the Baleno RS.
How the Baleno stacks up against the Hyundai Elite i20
The arch rival to this value-for-money and feature-loaded Maruti Baleno is the Hyundai Elite i20, which has also won over the market with its premiumness. When pitted against the Baleno, the Elite i20 has clocked 600,220 units during the same duration, while the hatchback was the pioneer of the segment and saw its second generation model getting launched in August 2014. The i20 has a slightly better petrol-to-diesel sales mix at 416,166:184,054 (69:31 %) given the performance-oriented nature of the diesel and a less frugal 1.2-litre petrol powerplant compared to Maruti’s K-Series engine in the Baleno.
Maruti Suzuki also brought an update to the model earlier this year in January and doing a feature re-jig as well as tweaking some design elements on the car. Interestingly, given its success, the Baleno also became the first car to be shared by Toyota Kirloskar Motor and Maruti Suzuki in India, under the global alliance between the two Japanese giants to share models and technology in order to share costs in the dynamic and fast changing automotive environment. Toyota retails the Baleno as a badge-engineered Glanza from its showrooms in India and had launched the car earlier this year in June.
Maruti Suzuki has exported a total of 162,209 units of the Baleno till late with 10,883 units going in FY2016, 49,308 in FY2017, 41,433 in FY2018, 37,757 in FY2019 and lastly 22,828 units in FY2020 so far.