The country's largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) on Wednesday launched the all-new version of its premium hatchback Baleno priced between Rs 6.35-9.49 lakh (ex-showroom).
The manual trims of the model are priced between Rs 6.35 lakh and Rs 8.99 lakh while the automatic variants (with auto gear shift technology) are tagged between Rs 7.69 lakh and Rs 9.49 lakh.
Speaking at the launch, MSI Managing Director and CEO Kenichi Ayukawa said the auto major along with its vendor partners has invested around Rs 1,150 crore on the development of the all-new Baleno.
"With a focus on technology and innovation, the new-age Baleno is set to re-energise the premium hatchback segment with several first-in-segment features. The new-age technology and features along with fresh look, premium interiors, and special focus on safety will take the customer experience to a new high," he noted.
He further said: "Based on Baleno's popularity and customer feedback, we are now aiming to take it to the next level. New age Baleno is our approach towards the new future."
The company had first launched Baleno in October 2015 and since then the model has been among the top five selling models in the country.
Terming the model a game-changer for the company, Ayukawa noted that the Baleno helped the automaker consolidate its position on the premium hatchback segment.
The model, which now comes with a new design language, also helped in establishing the Nexa retail channel in the market, he added.
"Baleno not only helped Maruti Suzuki strengthen its position in the premium hatchback segment, it also helped us establish Nexa channel in India. In fact, in their success, Baleno and Nexa complement each other," Ayukawa noted.
He also stated that the company's Nexa channel has helped the company meet aspirations of young and discerning customers.
"Since inception, Nexa has won hearts of over 1.6 million customers...Today, NEXA contributes almost 20 per cent of total Maruti Suzuki passenger vehicle sales," Ayukawa said.
MSI currently sells its products across the country from Nexa and Arena sales networks.
Elaborating on the market situation, he stated that barring supply-side issues, the demand in the market looks promising.
"Our customers, our patrons are awarding us with healthy bookings. Even today we have about 2.7 lakh bookings. We are making all efforts to fulfill this demand at the earliest and live up to the trust placed by our customers," Ayukawa said.
He noted that the domestic passenger vehicle sales in the first ten months of this fiscal year were 24 lakh units as compared to 20 lakh units in the previous year.
"Though this growth is on a low base of the previous year, we think the momentum will continue," Ayukawa said.
He said that the semiconductor supplies were gradually improving for the company.
Ayukawa noted that the Finance Minister has presented a growth-oriented budget focused on building long-term strength while maintaining policy stability.
"Clearly, infrastructure and capital investment have been identified as growth levers. Initiatives like 25,000 km highway construction,100 cargo terminals, Project Gati-shakti, 5G telecom network, etc will build a strong backbone for the India of tomorrow. And certainly, it will benefit the automobile industry," Ayukawa noted.
The new Baleno comes with various new features like the heads-up display, 360 view camera, new infotainment system, connected features among others.
The car comes powered by the next generation K-Series 1.2 litre petrol engine and also features idle start-stop technology.
It also features a safety package which includes 6 airbags, hillhold assist, and electronic stability program (ESP).
MSI claims that the manual version delivers fuel efficiency of 22.3 km per litre and the automatic delivers fuel efficiency of 22.9 km per litre.
MSI Senior Executive Director (Sales and Marketing) Shashank Srivastava said the company has so far received around 25,000 booking for the model.
The company has also started the deliveries from today, he added.