Now looking at the product categorisation of MSIL will be more interesting. New buyer won't take birth for sure, its the existing set of buyers coming from smaller cars or doing cross shopping around. Going by this introductory pricing of Baleno, although Hyundai i20 and Jazz are at risk with Figo as well as the likes of Bolt etc facing some sort of death blow. I guess the biggest dent still will be on the sales of Swift and DZire. i20
may still retain its USP of stylish, well appointed and quality interior. And yes, i20 gets front center armrest as well as rear A/C vents at the Magna variant too. Rest I am quite sure that the price hike will be following good discounts now. Pity for the owners who got their elite i20 now. Figo
will retain its USP of an awesome engine and will remain to be the budget drivers' car in the diesel guise IMO
. One TD of Figo is enough to send people gaga and make them choose between the fun to drive factor and overall practicality. Ego of men is always satisfies by the sheer power under A pedal after all. Polo
will retain its USP is superior build quality and funky dynamics. Baleno is a light weight baby and can't woo the buyer of Polo. If the buyer of Polo had to go away then i20 would have already given the Polo a dent.
BUT where will the Swift go? Especially in the metro cities. In tier II and tier III cities it is possible that MSIL will put a cap on NEXA and not let it spread to more than a couple of hundred outlets and save the Swift from this little monster. Still where will Swift go? Looks like now the Swift will be left with an amusing USP of 'a lot of them are on roads, there must be something special'. And similarly DZire will have its USP of just being a 'badi gaadi' Honda Jazz..
Ehh.. They should be scratching their head now. Honda Jazz has already lost the old flexibility and the 1.2 i-VTEC is no more the best engine; 1.2K is a stonker after all. 1.5 i-DTEC is not an enthusiast's delight by any stretch of imagination (Ford 1.5 delights enthusiasts) and the 1248 MJD easily matches the performance of 1.5 i-DTEC. The boot of Baleno is comparable and cabin space in Baleno is already at par. Ehh, the 100 Japanese ponies are easily rivalled by the 75 Italian horses and 100 American horses are better left out of this discussion
Tata Bolt and Zest are simply off the game now and time for Hyundai and Honda to come down the high horse and re-invest some time and money to get their armour right.
Baleno seems to be more of a revolution in terms of safety and practicality. The market leader has got everything spot on this time and has set the bar a bit too high this time.
Many have the question on low pricing and are unable to digest it. IMO
the reasons behind this shattering price are:
- It is the introductory price; let the Baleno establish itself and a hike of 25-50k can be expected across the line up, maybe some features omission or both.
- A lot of localisation and parts sharing. With parts like steering wheel, power window switches etc all shared and being produced by the vendors in large numbers. Going by the numbers, the existing vendors may have already surpassed the break even point and their profitability targets for even coming years some years back. So the vendors can now produce and supply many parts to MSIL at dirt low prices; something other manufacturers can't have.
- Part sharing in chassis components etc and everyone knows how smart MSIL is in cutting costs where no one can notice. Only a visit to JBM or Neel Metals can tell us where the cost cutting is in the chassis.
- Engine and drive train is also shared and Maruti is now actually milking the near dead buffallo, but yes; the milk is still a nice one.
- NEXA dealers also want some profit after spending a fortune in setting up new dealerships. NEXA is taken by some of the largest dealership chains of MSIL and hence MSIL needs to think of them too. So this time Maruti has decided to go the profitable volumes way instead of high profit per sale. A smart approach IMO. If they can have 4-5 times sales at same profit then why have only one time sale. More cars on roads means more mouth marketing and brand strengthening after all.
All in all, MSIL has killed many birds with a single stone. Ranging all the way from Wagon R VXi to Polo. The guys from the land of rising sun seems to have bombed the entire earth in India this time and that also with a heavy bombarding. I have a more important question:
Ingredients for a super successful yellow plate/cab formula are:
- Big and roomy cabin
- Big boot for airport transfers
- Low purchasing price
- Low running and maintenance costs
- Decent comfort with abuse taking capability
Looks like Baleno has got all the qualities for being a super hit in the cab market too and that also in dollops. Big and roomy cabin:
I don't think anyone will have a doubt on this one. The current compact cab market leader is the DZire and Baleno excels the DZire here quite easily. All black interior is even better for cabbies as it stands the abuse quite well without showing the signs of getting dirty/soiled. Big Boot:
The numbers themselves speak here. I have seen a couple of Jazz with yellow plates; maybe because of practicality it offers. A new and stronger contender now. Low purchasing price:
It's priced lower than the DZire and still offers more car for the money. Low maintenance and running costs:
Look at the FE numbers, the cool minded cabbies will stretch this car near to even 30 kmpl in diesel on highways. These guys have an unmatched skill of maintaining 75-80 or 90 kph for hundreds of kilometers. Adding to this is the CNG, the boot may still have some space left after equipping the CNG kit; Uber is transforming its NCR fleet into CNG I guess these days, a perfect car for them IMO
. Decent comfort with abuse taking capability:
The underpinnings are already proven ones and hence reliability is well expected. Comfort will be good for sure with a large cabin, wide seating space, good legroom and headroom along with a well tuned suspension offering a decent ride quality (as per reviews).
All in all the Baleno seems to be a perfect car for the yellow plate guys too. I won't be surprised to find a good number of them carrying the yellow plate too. Well, this success in yellow plate market becomes the enemy of a product at times. Will MSIL sell this premium offering of theirs to the yellow plate market too?If yes, then how will they manage to still call it premium?