The Baleno, the premium hatchback from Maruti Suzuki that was unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show last month, will make a global debut in India on October 26. It will be the second car to be sold through the company’s premium sales channel, the Nexa, and will primarily compete with premium hatchbacks such as Hyundai Elite i20, Honda Jazz and Volkswagen Polo.
“We are eyeing leadership in the premium hatchback segment with the Baleno,” RS Kalsi, executive director, Marketing & Sales, Maruti Suzuki India Ltd, told FE. He added that the number of Nexa showrooms will increase to 80 by the end of the month when the Baleno is launched.
The bookings for the Baleno opened on Tuesday.
MSIL and its vendors have together invested Rs 1,060 crore in the development of the Baleno over four years and it is the second product, after the now-discontinued A-Star, which will be made in India for the world. “The Baleno will be manufactured at the company’s Manesar facility and will be exported to over 100 countries,” Kalsi said, adding, “We will start Baleno exports in a couple of months.”
As far as domestic market is concerned, he said that the company’s production facilities are geared up to supply whatever the market demands.
Maruti, which has a vast network of 1,702 dealers, is also hopeful that selling the Baleno only through the Nexa will not limit its sales numbers. “The 80 Nexa showrooms that we will have by the end of the month are owned by such dealers who, on an average, have three Maruti showrooms each. And customers going to those 240-odd showrooms will be indirectly exposed to the Baleno. Thus, we will have a catchment area of 320 (240+80) sales outlets to begin with.”
The Baleno will get two engine options—the 1.2-litre VVT petrol and 1.3-litre DDiS 190 diesel. While the company-claimed fuel-efficiency for the petrol is 21.4 kmpl, that for the diesel is 27.39 kmpl, which is second only to the company’s Celerio Diesel. It gets various first-time features for the segment, such as Apple CarPlay, UV Cut glasses which reduce ultraviolet rays by 85%, and a multi-information speedometer display. The Baleno also gets safety features such as dual airbags, antilock braking system (ABS) and electronic brakeforce distribution (EBD) as standard across variants. It is the first hatchback from Maruti to be offered with the Continuous Variable Transmission (CVT) fully automatic gearbox.
The Baleno, which has high localisation levels of 99% to begin with, is expected to be priced from Rs 5.5 lakh onwards—closer to the base variants of the Elite i20 and the Jazz.