Maruti postpones rollout of Baleno RS and Ignis models

by Shobha Mathur , 10 Aug 2016

Maruti Suzuki India, which had revealed its two new upcoming models for India – the Concept Ignis premium compact urban car and the Baleno RS, the sportier version of the Baleno hatchback – at the Auto Expo 2016 in February, has postponed their originally planned launch of before the festive season.

The Ignis which, according to sources in the know, was slated for an August 2016 launch, will now come in October-November 2016. The Baleno RS, on the other hand, will roll out in January 2017. Both the Ignis and the Baleno RS will be manufactured at the carmaker’s Manesar plant where the premium Baleno hatchback is also produced.

It is understood that with the carmaker already facing large backorders for the Baleno hatchback and the Vitara Brezza compact SUV with waiting periods spiralling to between 6-9 months, especially for the top end variants, this change in launch strategy for the new product launches has been envisaged.

Sources say Maruti Suzuki has therefore decided not to add another new model to the existing backlog of orders as the initial bookings for the new models are also expected to be quite large. The carmaker has just enhanced production capacity of the Vitara Brezza from 8,000 units per month to 10,000 units in mid-July at its Gurgaon facility and to 12,000 units for the Baleno from the earlier 8,000 units in June-July at Manesar.

It is understood that Baleno production at Manesar will be stepped up to 20,000 units per month by January 2017, of which 8,000 units will be of the Baleno RS.

While the Baleno is currently selling around 9,000 units a month, the Vitara Brezza is going home to around 10,000 new buyers. 

With Maruti Suzuki closed for 4 days from August 15-18 due to various upcoming holidays, the plants will be operational on Sundays to make up for production backlogs. 

Most carmakers generate sales of about 20-25 percent during the peak festive period and hence new car launches commence a month and a half earlier to leave adequate time for ramp up of production capacities to enable dealers to have sufficient inventory to meet the surge in market demand.

Meanwhile, the proposed Ignis will be the first car in India to be built on Suzuki’s all new compact car platform, a step down from the Baleno. It will be marketed through Maruti’s premium Nexa outlets and will come in both petrol and diesel options –a 1.2-litre petrol and a DDiS 190 diesel engine. It is believed that the Ignis will be made in volumes of 200,000 units per annum at full capacity but initial volumes are expected to be much lower, following on the heels of the Baleno and the Vitara Brezza with gradual ramp ups.

The new 1-litre three-cylinder turbo Boosterjet direct injection engine, a made-in-Europe motor developed in Japan, will power the Baleno RS. 

Also, the Baleno will also commence production in Suzuki’s new facility in Gujarat starting January 2017 where it will be initially made in volumes of 103,000 units with the new-generation Swift model joining it as the second model to rollout from the plant in initial volumes of 50,000 units from December 2017.

The ramp-up plan at Gujarat involves reaching full capacity of the first assembly line of 250,000 units in 2018-19 and 397,000 units in 2019-20.

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