Maruti to launch Kizashi in India

Maruti Suzuki plans to launch the Kizashi, a crossover between a sports car and a sedan, in India next year. The car was launched earlier this year in the US and Japan.

The sedan, which could carry a price tag of over Rs. 10 lakh, will first be showcased at the Delhi auto expo next month and a final decision on the launch will be taken based on the response at the fair.

Kizashi is considered by auto buffs as a replacement for GM Daewoo designed Verona. By Indian standards, the car, which has a 2.4-litre Euro IV engine, would be considered as a “big sedan” and could compete with the Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic, Chevrolet Cruze and the Skoda Laura.

The Kizashi, which retails at over $18,999 in the US, has standard keyless ignition, rear seat vents, leather-wrapped steering wheels, and rear side airbags. Reviews say it gives about 10-11 km to the litre. Rain-sensing wipers, backup camera with ultrasonic sensors, and navigation are available on the fully-loaded version which costs nearly $27,000.

Maruti does not have a very happy experience with expensive sedans in India. Its Baleno model never really took off as it was seen as a fuel guzzler, while the SX4’s performance had been patchy.

However, Kizashi, which was unveiled as a concept car in 2007, could change all that. With a sporty look and big 21-inch wheels it could catch the fancy of young car lovers in India.

At the expo, Suzuki plans to showcase some 17 vehicles. The display will also include the Eeco, a new 5-7 seater 1200-cc five-door car. The Eeco will probably be priced below Rs. 4 lakh and be touted as the affordable car for the big family.

Sources said Maruti would also update most of its bestseller models, including the Wagon R and the Swift, over the next few years. The Wagon R could come in a new avatar next year itself, while a new Swift could come in two years.