Maruti Suzuki to launch Swift Dzire on Mar 26, Splash by Jan

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New Delhi, Mar 18 (UNI) Maruti Suzuki India Ltd (MSIL) today said it will launch new 'Swift Dzire' sedan, designed and conceptualised at about Rs 30 crore, on March 26 and is expected to be priced anywhere in the Rs 5 lakh range.

The Dzire project, which started in 2005, is a brand progression of the Swift hatchback.

A company official said plans are on way to launch the Splash by January 2009.

The Splash has been described by Suzuki as a multi-utility vehicle for small families. Powered by a 1.2-litre petrol and a 1.3-litre diesel engine, the Splash is meant to showcase judicious use of space. For example, the rear seats of the Splash can be folded back to make a flat load floor and a compartment below for storage.

The company will also increase its capacity in the Manesar plant near Gurgaon from the current 1,40,000 units to 3,00,000 units by October this year.

The Manesar plant will produce both the diesel and petrol variants of Swift, Dzire, SX4, and the yet to be launched A-star and Splash.

The Dzire will be available both in petrol and diesel engines, with the diesel engine being the same as current engine in the Swift hatchback, the 1.3 litre multi-jet engine of Fiat, said Brand Manager of Dzire Sanjeev Nanda.

Eleven engineers from Suzuki worked on the programme of the car that boasts of 60 mm more width in the backseat as compared to the Swift hatch along with the 30 kg increase in weight, Mr Nanda added.

The design of the car could be achieved in a price tag of as low as Rs 30 crore since the platform for the vehicle was about same as the existing Swift hatch.

The diesel engine of Fiat on the hatch has been carried forward for the sedan and the petrol engine is the same as the one in Esteem with minor modification.

Though the price of the sedan has not been revealed yet, it will be lower than the SX4 and a tad higher than the Swift hatchback.

The standard version of Swift costs Rs 4.63 (ex-showroom Delhi), while the SX4 is at Rs 6.28 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi).

Pricing remains the key issue in the fast growing A3 segment where cars like Mahindra Renault Logan are doing well. Also the Dzire is supposed to take on the mantle of sales from the hugely popular Esteem, the production of which was stopped in December last year.

A Technopak survey showed 1.6 million people in the country to have a disposable income of more than Rs 4 lakhs, which is expected to be the customer base for this entry level A3 segment car.

The company which grew by more than 14 per cent during the April-February period this fiscal is outpacing the industry growth and expects launches to form a key part of growth story.

The government had cut excise of small cars in the Budget from 16 to 12 per cent and there was an immediate reduction in prices of small cars.

However, many in the industry say it is to early to talk about the benefits of the excise rate cut.

''The full benefit of an excise duty cut is yet to be seen since it takes 4-5 months for the price discovery. Scheme incentives are good, but last year sales were driven by new models,'' said company Chief Officer Mayank Parekh.

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