On May 25, 2005, when Maruti Suzuki launched the Swift hatchback, the step, in a way, demonstrated its long-term plans for dominating the Indian passenger vehicle market. However, the company was also taking a risk. The reason was, during those days, there were some set notions about a small car. It had to be reliable, economical and somewhat basic in its features. Design would receive minimal attention; while a few clamoured for a bold design, it was believed the \u2018mainstream\u2019 small car customer would accept pretty much everything\u2014from boxy shapes to bland, simple lines. That was also the time when the \u2018basic\u2019 Maruti 800 was India\u2019s largest selling car and the Alto was gaining a slow acceptance. The Swift, however, was unlike any small car. In fact, it was anything but small. It was big on the outside, had the features of a sedan, and was priced under Rs 4 lakh. What differentiated it from other hatchback cars was its bold and aggressive design\u2014it appealed to the young and had ample room for a family. The design had a European feel. \u201cMore than a car, it was a refreshing new thought process,\u201d says RS Kalsi, senior executive director, Marketing & Sales, Maruti Suzuki India. The Swift also created a new segment\u2014the upper A2\u2014and young Indians raced to buy one. \u201cIn many ways, it was the \u2018coming of age\u2019 of the Indian middle-class buyer. In the Swift, she could hope to buy a car she had seen on European roads, and be sure it would stand up to the Indian values of being reliable and economical,\u201d says Kalsi. In a little over one year, Maruti sold 53,171 units of the car. At that time, it already had four competitors and yet enjoyed over three-fourths market share. On January 24, 2007, the Swift got a diesel engine, and sales shot up further. By the time the second generation Swift came in August 2011, it was one of India\u2019s largest selling cars, with total sales of 5,72,824 units in six years. \u201cFrom four players in the segment during 2005-06 to seven players in 2012-13, the Swift faced a lot of competition. But its performance and sporty looks ensured it stayed on top, undistracted,\u201d says CV Raman, senior executive director, Engineering, Maruti Suzuki India.The second-generation Swift was even more stylish, and had more powerful yet efficient engines. Despite the competition upping its game\u2014by 2016-17, there were 11 players in the upper A2 segment\u2014the Swift maintained its leadership position, by far. From 2011 till 2017, it sold an unprecedented 12,02,119 units\u2014at a little under 2 lakh units per year. \u201cThe Swift helped the Indian passenger vehicle industry grow by leaps and bounds,\u201d adds Kalsi. Third-generation Swift At the Auto Expo 2018, Maruti Suzuki will launch the third-generation Swift in India, whose bookings it opened yesterday. It gets a brand new design and a host of technologies. \u201cIt is built on Suzuki\u2019s fifth-generation Heartect platform, which ensures more strength and rigidity, and helps improve power-to-weight ratio. It is 40mm wider than the previous model and has a 20mm longer wheelbase, allowing more cabin space, headroom as well as luggage area,\u201d says Raman.While the engines remain the same\u2014DDiS 190 diesel and K12 VVT petrol\u2014they have been tuned for better performance and fuel-efficiency. \u201cThe diesel now returns 28.4kpl, while the petrol delivers 22kpl. The new Swift also has 10% better acceleration performance than the previous model,\u201d adds Raman. A major change is the two-pedal technology\u2014both diesel and petrol get the Auto Gear Shift (AGS) technology, or AMT, as an option. Other changes are driver-oriented cockpit design, flat bottom steering wheel and bolstered seats; dual airbags and ABS with EBD and ISOFIX (child seat restraint system) are now standard. \u201cFor a decade and a half, the Swift has been among the top-five selling cars\u2014a rare feat,\u201d says Kalsi. He has reasons to believe the new Swift will be far more successful. \u201cThe average age of a Swift buyer is getting younger. Customers in the age group of 26-35 years contribute the maximum to its sales,\u201d he says. With India set to become the world\u2019s youngest country by 2020 with an average age of 29, the Swift, for sure, has a huge buyer base.