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With the launch of its Celerio small car on Thursday, car market leader Maruti Suzuki has cut the entry price for auto transmission vehicles by almost Rs 2 lakh. The company, which hopes to drive buyers in the mass car segments towards auto gear shift vehicles, has launched the Celerio at aggressive starting prices of Rs 3.9 lakh (manual transmission) and Rs 4.29 lakh (Ez Drive auto gear shift).
The Celerio, one of the most important products for Maruti Suzuki in recent years, will only offer the Automated Manual Transmission (AMT) or auto gear option in the entry- and middle variants to keep prices low. Currently, the cheapest cars available with automatic transmission are Hyundai’s Grand i10 and the Honda Brio, both of which are priced around R6 lakh.
Kenichi Ayukawa, MD & CEO, Maruti Suzuki, said, “We sense that there will be a shift of buyers towards vehicles that are easier to drive, so we want to be ahead in this area by being the first to introduce the auto gear shift technology.”
“Our aim is to sell 10,000 units of the Celerio per month. If the AMT technology is successful, we expect it to have a 30 to 50% share of the total sales of the model. We have to carefully launch this and offer lots of test drives to customers to make sure they understand the technology. This is a very important product for us,” he added.
Automatic transmission variants are generally more expensive by about R1 lakh than the manual transmission version of the same cars today, but Maruti has managed to cut the difference to a mere Rs 40,000.
There is more reason for Maruti to place huge bets on the Celerio. The new small car will also debut Suzuki’s own diesel engine for the first time in the global market. As reported by FE in its edition dated August 6, 2013, the Celerio will also be launched with a new 800cc Suzuki-developed diesel engine before end-2014. Currently, Suzuki sources diesel engines from Fiat for models like the Swift, Dzire and Ertiga.
At the ongoing biennial Auto Expo,