The carmaker has historically found it tough to make headway in the premium C and D sedan segments, with previous models the SX4 and the Kizashi failing to make an impact. Among rivals, the City currently sells about 7,000 units a month, the Verna does about 3,000, and the Volskwagen Vento and Skoda Rapid follow.
Mayank Pareek, COO, sales & marketing at Maruti Suzuki, said, "The market size of the A3+ (midsize sedan) segment is about 16,000 units a month and we aiming for leadership. In the A3- segment, the Dzire is already the market leader. We have a lot of loyal customers looking to upgrade from A3- and our premium hatchbacks and they will be a major target."
"This is the first step of a whole new product range coming from Maruti, especially in the upper segments. There are many products slated over the next 2-3 years," a company official added.
To make sure the Ciaz is successful, Maruti has trained 2,800 staff across the company and dealer points to interact with a more premium set of customers.
"We learnt after the Kizashi experience that importing fully-built models make no sense. Also, the way you sell an Alto is very different from how you sell a bigger car. The premium customer wants a relationship and may close a buy in two weeks, an Alto buyer has already decided and will purchase within a week," Pareek said.
The Ciaz will be Indias most fuel-efficient car the diesel variant claims a fuel economy of 26.2 kmpl. It also offers the longest wheelbase (more legroom) and largest boot space in the segment.
Looks to up Celerio AMT output by 43%
The company is increasing output of its Celerio hatchback, equipped with the automated manual transmission technology, by 43% to 5,000 units a month. The move will help the company reduce the waiting period from over four months as the car witnesses an unprecedented surge in demand. Mayank Pareek, COO, marketing & sales, said, "We started with 1,000-unit monthly production of the Celerio AMT when we launched in February, then increased it to 3,500. Now we are increasing to 5,000 with increased localisation from our suppliers."