Fifteen years ago, on May 25, 2005, when Maruti Suzuki India launched a hatchback with an offbeat design, it probably wouldn’t have known the car will sell over 22 lakh units, will be a segment leader for 14 of these 15 years, and will help the development of India’s largest selling sedan, the Dzire. “The Swift raised the aspirations of the car-buying public,” says CV Raman, executive director, Engineering at Maruti Suzuki India. “It was unique not only in terms of design, but more importantly in driving performance. It was a hatchback that was peppy to drive and high on fuel efficiency, something unheard of during those times.” The design was also customisation-friendly. “Enthusiasts could give it a personalised appearance,” adds Raman. On January 24, 2007, the Swift got a diesel engine, and sales soared. Maruti didn’t have its own diesel, so it took the 1.3-litre diesel from Fiat and fitted it in the Swift. The car was engineered in such a way that in terms of driving performance and fuel efficiency, it performed even better than Fiat cars fitted with the same engine. The diesel Swift immediately became popular in rural India as well.
By the time the second-generation Swift came in August 2011, it was one of India’s largest selling cars, with total sales of 5,72,824 units in six years. From 2011 till 2017, it sold an unprecedented 12,02,119 units—at about 2 lakh units per year. At the Auto Expo 2018, Maruti launched the third-generation Swift. During all these years, the average age of a Swift buyer kept going down, “a testimony to the fact that an increasing number of people bought it as their first car,” says Raman. Today, customers in the age group of 26-35 years contribute the maximum to its sales. With India becoming the world’s youngest country, at an average age of 29, the Swift, for sure, has a huge buyer base.
In March 2008, Maruti developed a sedan by adding a boot to the Swift and called it Swift Dzire. It replaced the Esteem—the sedan Maruti had been selling since mid-1990s. By the time the second-generation Swift Dzire was launched, in February 2012, it had become one of India’s most popular sedans. Together, the Swift and the Swift Dzire set the foundation for far more premium cars to come, including the Baleno and the Ciaz. (On May 16, 2017, the Swift Dzire finally created its own unique personality, and was called just the Dzire.)
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