Maruti Suzuki's premium hatchback, Swift, is taking fire from its own sibling, Baleno, as the recently-launched model has eaten into Swift’s sales for the second month in a row.
Sales of Swift slumped 34% in November and 16% last month, even as its sales during April-December period closed with a growth of nearly 4%.
According to the sales data, from average monthly sales of 17,800 units, Swift sales declined to 13,252 units per month in the last two months.
In November, Swift sales closed at 11,859 units as compared to 17,900 units sold in the same month last year. In December, sales of Swift closed at 14,548 units as against 17,410 units sold in the corresponding month last year.
Baleno, which is priced nearly 9% (Rs 42,700) higher than the Swift in Mumbai, at Rs 5,34,994 (base variant, ex-showroom), clocked nearly 20,000 units in the last two months.
The Baleno became the highest selling premium hatchback last month beating Hyundai's i20.
For the Swift, which is more than ten years old in the Indian market, woes are not expected to end anytime soon. “Enquiry levels for the Baleno are quite high. Swift is showing decent numbers, but there has been some lag in bookings since the time of the Baleno launch”, said a Mumbai-based dealer of Maruti Suzuki.
Maruti Suzuki said that it is facing some capacity crunch because of the new launches like Baleno and S Cross due to which numbers of the Swift appear lower.
As per reports, Baleno has garnered bookings of around 70,000 units till date, resulting into a waiting period running into several months. Maruti is looking at ways to increase production of the premium car, but as of now, the waiting period is likely to continue at six months.
Swift is the most successful premium hatchback from Maruti Suzuki, India's largest car maker. Over the last few months however Swift's elder sibling Dzire, which is a compact sedan based on the same platform, has taken the lead.
Despite several launches by rivals, including Volkswagen Polo, Nissan Micra, Honda Brio, Toyota Etios Liva, Chevrolet Beat, Renault Pulse and Tata Bolt, the Swift has held on to its leadership.
Even Maruti Suzuki tried to cash in on Swift's success with the launch the Ritz, a similar priced hatchback with a radically new design theme, but demand for the Swift refused to wane even as Ritz was redirected to the commercial segment as the Mumbai taxi market (black-yellow).
The Baleno, launched in October 2015, is based on an all-new lightweight platform that weighs 100kg lighter than the Swift. Though the Baleno sports a headlight design which is similar to the Swift, the rest of the styling is very unique. For instance its high tail light is a first-of-its-kind on a Maruti car.
Baleno though is sold only through a specialised chain of outlets branded as Nexa by Maruti which is just 100 as of today whereas the Swift is sold across more than 750 dealers. Stylish and premium interior and a variety of features has swung demand in favour of the Baleno.