Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) will compete with big car makers, such as Honda and Toyota, when it launches the sports luxury car Kizashi in India in 2010.
Suzuki Motor Corporation, has already launched this mid-sized sedan in the US. As per an auto industry executive, Kizashi, Suzuki’s first big car developed in-house, will be introduced in India in the 2010 Auto Expo. The car will be powered by a 2.4-litre Euro IV engine developed by Suzuki. A six-speed manual transmission will be standard in the car, while the automatic one-based on continuously variable transmission (CVT) technology will be optional and will have paddle shifters mounted on the steering wheel (like those in Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla Altis).
In the past, Maruti has not been successful in launching premium-to-luxury cars in India. The Baleno sedan model could not excite the market while the flagship sedan SX4 launched in 2007 lost momentum after the initial pick up, while its competitor Honda City sedan has been holding on to its leadership position for the past decade.
Maruti’s premium cars have been rated low on quality and performance and could not compete with its other Japanese co-products, such as the Toyota Corolla and the Honda City. Maruti manages to sell only 600-700 SX4’s in the domestic market against 2,500-3,000 Honda City sold every month.
As per a company source, Kizashi, which was first unveiled in 2007 Frankfurt Motor Show, is expected to be the first-all-wheel-drive luxury car in India in the Rs. 10 -13 lakhs price bracket. Maruti will pitch it as a sports crossover – a vehicle that derives from a car platform while blends features from a sports utility vehicle – that will sport a large tyre size of a 21 inch wheel against Honda Civic’s 15 inch. It is expected to roll out from Maruti’s sprawling 500-acre Manesar facility.