India’s largest car manufacturer, Maruti Suzuki India Ltd, is planning to launch its brand new hatchback during the festival of lights, Diwali, in an effort to regain market share which has been dropping over the last few years. A senior official from Maruti Suzuki has reported that work on the vehicle is progressing and the company is planning to introduce it before Diwali. Details about the upcoming vehicle were not divulged, but what we know is that the hatchback will cost less than the Alto and just beyond the price range of the Maruti 800.
On its own turf in Japan, Suzuki Motor Company already has a mini compact vehicle in the market with an engine capacity of a little under 800cc. As the years pass, competition has been mounting from various quarters. Models like Hyundai Eon and the much talked about diesel variant of the Tata Nano are making strides. Maruti Suzuki, in an attempt to restore its best selling model, will launch the entry level hatchback before stopping the production of the 800.
The company’s productions had earlier accounted for over 50 percent sales in the passenger vehicle market. But the entry of smaller vehicles from Hyundai has forced the much-loved brand to see its market share go down to 40 percent. The drop was also facilitated by strikes at the company’s Manesar plant.
To make matters worse, sales of its mini-segment vehicles like A-Star, WagonR, Alto and M800 plummeted by 26.4 percent. According to statistics, just 30,720 units were sold by April 30 2012, compared to 41,744 units in the same period in 2011.
Of course, all is not lost in camp Maruti Suzuki since its DZiRE model sales a rose by 31.5 percent few months earlier. The luxury Kizashi sedan, however, didn’t perform too well, recording a 91.4 percent drop in sales.