Maruti Suzuki launches Baleno at Rs 4.99 lakh; to take on i20, Jazz, Polo


New Delhi: Eyeing top slot in the premium hatchback segment, country’s largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) Monday rolled out its latest model ‘Baleno’, priced between Rs 4.99 lakh and Rs 8.11 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi).
With this model, the company aims to achieve leadership position in a segment which is currently dominated by the likes of Hyundai i20, Honda Jazz and Volkswagen Polo priced between Rs 5.34 lakh and Rs 8.63 lakh.

“With festive period around, this is the right time to launch Baleno. It will be an important model in our mission to achieve two million sales per annum by 2020,” MSI Managing Director & CEO Kenichi Ayukawa told reporters here.

The car, which will be manufactured only in India, is the first car from the MSI stable that will be exported to Japan, he added.

“It is a global model which would not only satisfy customers in India but global markets as well. I am excited that this model will be exported to Japan from India therefore opening a new chapter in the long history of MSI,” Ayukawa said.

The company will begin exporting Baleno early next year to over 100 global markets. It plans to export around 50,000 units in the first year, including up to 6,000 units to Japan, Ayukawa said.

In domestic market, Baleno will be sold through the company’s new premium network of showrooms, Nexa.

“We are looking for leadership position in premium hatchback segment but it will happen gradually. We are very optimistic about this model as it is packed with various features,” MSI Executive Director Marketing and Sales R S Kalsi said.

Baleno comes with Apple CarPlay, an initiative in car entertainment system from the global leader of smartphones. MSI will be the first OEM in India to offer Apple CarPlay.

The model also comes with various features including multi-information speedometer and UV reduction glasses. The carmaker has also given safety equipment like airbags and Anti-lock braking system (ABS) as standard across all the variants of the new model.

As per the company, the petrol variant of Baleno would deliver a fuel mileage of 21.4 kmpl while the diesel version would deliver a mileage of 27.39 kmpl.

The petrol variants of Baleno are priced between Rs 4.99 lakh and Rs 7.01 lakh while the diesel trims are priced in the range Rs 6.16 lakh to Rs 8.11 lakh.

Kalsi said the company has received 2,500 confirmed bookings for the model so far.

The petrol automatic variant, featuring continuously variable transmission (CVT), is priced at Rs 6.76 lakh (all prices ex-showroom Delhi).

The premium compact segment comprises 20 per cent of the total domestic passenger car market.

According to industry estimates, some 5-5.3 lakh compact segment cars are sold per annum in India. During the April- September period of the current fiscal, around 2.9 lakh compact hatchbacks have been sold.

MSI and its supplier partners have invested Rs 1,060 crore in the development of Baleno. It is the second model after premium crossover S-Cross which will be sold through Nexa outlets in the country.

“Currently we have 80 Nexa showrooms. By the end of the year we plan to have around 100 outlets,” Ayukawa said, adding that around 12,000 units of S-Cross have been sold through the premium dealerships so far in the country.

Although the new model shares name with the erstwhile premium sedan Baleno there is nothing common between the two models.

MSI had discontinued the mid-sized sedan Baleno in 2006 and was replaced by SX4 later on.

The company, which plans to launch several models this fiscal, has set a target of achieving 2 million unit sales annually by 2020. PTI



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