Maruti Suzuki India’s premium midsize sedan Ciaz has driven past the 300,000-unit sales mark in the Indian market. The sales milestone was crossed on September 9 and comes 84 months or seven years after the Ciaz was revealed in September 2014 and launched a month later. It was also showcased at the 2014 Paris Motor Show.
At launch the Ciaz sedan was available with both petrol and diesel engines – a 1.4-litre K10B, 91bhp petrol unit and a 1.3-litre Fiat-sourced 89bhp diesel unit. While the petrol variant had an ARAI-certified fuel efficiency of 20.73kpl, the diesel was rated at 26.21kpl. The Ciaz at launch was available in four trim levels – V, V+, Z and Z+ – and seven colour shades.
The sedan had an introductory price of Rs 699,000 (ex-showroom, Delhi) for the petrol variant and Rs 804,000 for the diesel. Localisation levels at launch were 98 percent, the imported content being electronics including sensors.
A year later, on September 1, 2015, Maruti Suzuki launched the Ciaz hybrid (mild hybrid tech) claiming fuel efficiency of 28.09kpl, making it the most fuel efficient car in India at the time and offering energy efficient features such as idle start-stop and regenerative braking.
Sales took off but then slowed down
With the Ciaz, Maruti Suzuki had aimed to crack the midsize sedan market, in the segment which had the Honda City, Hyundai Verna, Volkswagen Vento and the Skoda Rapid, and did well in the initial years albeit sales slowed down subsequently.
In July 2016, 21 months after launch, the Ciaz drove past the 100,000 sales mark with the diesel variant dominating numbers with 55% of sales. In March 2017, it crossed the 150,000 sales mark, with 50,000 sales coming up in nine months.
In April 2017, the carmaker took the decision to brand the Ciaz as a Nexa model. With this, the Ciaz became 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.
While the first 150,000 sales took 30 months, the next round of 150,000 Ciaz sales have taken 54 months, indicating slowing down of demand for the sedan. Also, with the passenger vehicle consumer shift to petrol, demand for the diesel Ciaz fell and the diesel variant, which had dominated sales for the first three fiscals, saw its numbers go down. And in Febrruary 2020, Maruti Suzuki discontinued production and sale of the diesel-engined Ciaz, two months before announced its departure from the diesel engine market.
As per Autocar Professional’s analytics, a total of 299,190 Ciaz sedans have been sold in India since the model’s launch through to end-July 2021. This comprises a fuel-wise split of 173,114 petrol and 126,076 units. The remaining 810 units that have helped the sedan to cross the 300,000 mark would have come in August 2021.
Challenges that lie ahead
Launched in 2014, the Ciaz, which is a smart and sensible sedan, is nearing the end of its lifecycle and a new-generation model is the need of the hour for Maruti Suzuki India to sustain its sales in a highly-competitive market where segment-leader Honda City is already out in a brand-new avatar, and popular midsize SUVs such as Creta and Seltos are also drawing buyers away from sedans.
Nonetheless, sales of 300,000 units in the ultra-competitive passenger vehicle market that is India is an achievement. That Maruti Suzuki’s announcement came on the same day when Ford announced stoppage of vehicle manufacturing operations speaks volumes of what keeps the PV sales leader ticking in the market.