Maruti Swift sales take a hit as Baleno shines

With the loss of the number one position to Maruti Suzuki's premium hatchback, Baleno, Hyundai is charting out ways to reclaim the leadership spot for the i20 in the coming months.

Baleno, which is clocking robust bookings since its launch in late October, has given i20 a tough fight. The latest product to be launched by Maruti even disloged Hyundai’s flagship offering from the leadership position in December sales.

Baleno saw sales of 10,572 units in December, higher than the i20, which clocked 10,379 units during the same month, data shared by both the companies reveals.  

However, Hyundai states that it would be misleading to judge the performance of one model on the basis of a single month as the i20 has been in the market for near one-and-half years. 

Puneet Anand, GM — marketing, Hyundai Motor India, said, “The Elite i20 was launched in August 2014 and has already clocked more than 155,000 which is an average of 9,200 per month in 17 months. We have a 58% market share in the i20 segment. December is one month aberration.”

To reclaim the lost spot, Hyundai is working on increasing production of the i20 to cater to demand from the domestic market. The company had routed i20 production to the export market following increased demand. In addition, Hyundai is also working on product upgradations on the i20 to keep the consumer excited. 

“In the last three months, we were a little constrained in production which is also when the plant in Chennai had to be shut for 3-4 days because of floods. We had to sacrifice some Indian numbers of the i20 to cater to the export market. Going forward, orders are very strong for the i20. There will be product upgradation going on side by side as well. We are confident of selling more than 10,000 units of the i20 and i20 Active. We are going to improve production numbers from January”, added Anand.

The i20 Active is a more expensive, souped-up version of the i20 launched by Hyundai in March last year. The company claims to have sold 20,000 units of the model so far. 

“There are presently no discounts on the i20. In fact, the Asta diesel variant is carrying a waiting period of 30 days or so even as petrol variant is gaining ground. We are confident of reclaiming the number 1 spot in the segment”, added Anand.  

But dislodging the Baleno will be tougher for Hyundai. Maruti Suzuki, the country's biggest car maker has claimed that the Baleno has generated collective bookings of nearly 70,000 units within three months of its launch.