Has Maruti cracked the premium segment with Ciaz?

Has Maruti cracked the premium segment with Ciaz?

Maruti seems to have finally cracked the premium mid-size sedan segment with the Ciaz. Just a month into its launch, the Ciaz unseated the Hyundai Verna to claim the second spot behind the all-conquering Honda City in the mid-size sedan segment, a position it has comfortably hung on to.

The Ciaz is Maruti Suzuki’s third attempt at the premium mid-size sedan segment after the not-so-successful SX4 and even less successful Baleno. However, it’s been third time lucky with the Ciaz which has managed to pull in customers thanks to generous amounts of space, a decent cabin and above all, Maruti’s reputation of providing great value and excellent after-sales service. Given the steady demand for the Ciaz, it might just be on course to establish Maruti Suzuki as a credible player in the mid-size sedan segment in India.

Interestingly, the Ciaz outsold its biggest competitor, the Honda City, in the first month since its launch but these figures are misleading as most of the sales could be attributed to the initial demand for the car and dealer stocks. But, since its launch in September last year, the Ciaz has continued to be well received in the domestic market with sales averaging around 4,500 units a month. The segment leader, Honda City, has average sales of around 7,000 units a month during the same timeframe.

However, the Ciaz hasn’t been immune to the overall slowdown in passenger car sales in June. Sales declined to around 3,700 units, from over 5,000 units in May following weak buyer sentiment. It is, however, very much in the game with Maruti Suzuki managing to sell more than 45,000 units of the Ciaz in the domestic market since launch. A clear picture of how it has performed will emerge in the next few months.

Sales of the Ciaz have received a bit of a push, thanks to supply constraints of certain variants of the Honda City. According to dealers, some top-spec petrol variants (V, VX) still have a waiting period of nearly two months, while the waiting period for the petrol automatics (SV, VX) is around three months. However, the diesel variants are readily available but aren’t seeing much demand.

City production faced a bottleneck as Honda had to temporarily suspend production last year as it shifted manufacturing of the car to its Tapukara facility in Rajasthan from Greater Noida.

But with supply constraints clearing up in the next few months, the Honda City is likely to be available off the shelves. It will make for a proper head-to-head contest between the Ciaz and the City when the latter is readily available and is actively pushed by dealers in the market.

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