Maruti Suzuki has finally managed to trump it nearest competitors -Honda and Hyundai- in the mid size sedan segment with Ciaz, after the offering managed to register the highest volumes in the April-December period of the current fiscal.
During this period volumes of Ciaz sales increased by 23.46% y-o-y to 47,114 units.
The mid-size sedan segment has been dominated by Honda City since its launch in the domestic market more than a decade ago. In the nine months of the current fiscal City’s volumes declined by 33.8% y-o-y to 39,040 units. Till FY16 Honda was leading the race with City but Maruti managed to attract potential customers by launching the mild hybrid variant of Ciaz.
In FY16 Honda sold 77,546 units of City compared to 54,233 units of Ciaz.
Other products in the segment including Hyundai Verna and Skoda Rapid also suffered substantial loss in volumes during the fiscal. According to market analysts, the introduction of hybrid variant made Maruti’s offering more enticing for customers since it’s more fuel efficient and attracts less excise duty under the FAME scheme announced by the union government in order to promote purchase of hybrid vehicles.
The excise duty on a mild hybrid variant of Ciaz is 12.5% while the same on other cars in the segment is almost 27%. Maruti also claims that the mild hybrid engine of Ciaz is the best in terms of mileage.
Although the competition in the segment will again intensify once Honda launches the fifth generation city and Hyundai its new Verna with a hybrid engine.
According to R S Kalsi, executive director, marketing and sales, Maruti Suzuki, the success of Ciaz further consolidates Maruti’s image as a premium car manufacturer and reinforces the company’s commitment to offer premium products in the upper segments.
“With introduction of Ciaz SHVS and new infotainment features the car has clearly pulled ahead as the best product in its class and customers see it that way. Today, brand Ciaz is one of the most successful models in the country and the testimony is over 53,000 units sold in the current financial year,” added Kalsi.
Introducing Ciaz was the third attempt from Maruti to make a mark for itself in the sedan segment after Baleno and Sx4. Analysts also attribute the success of Ciaz to lack of new products in the segment.
Both City and Verna were launched some years ago and refreshed versions have been launched at certain intervals.
Ciaz though is yet to touch the 8,000 unit sales mark in a month like City but its has been a successful venture for Maruti nonetheless.
“Maruti has been quick to introduce the hybrid variant of Ciaz compared to Honda and Hyundai. Also this segment attracts upper middle class customers who are concerned about the environmental concerns as well especially after the ban on diesel. Maruti manufactured a good quality product since they had to compete with one of best cars in the market,” added Punnet Gupta of IHS automotive.