Snapshot – The Maruti Suzuki Swift is the undisputed sales champion of the B+ hatchback segment in India, and is well-nigh unbeatable. But what drives Swift sales, month after month, year after year. For its part, Maruti Suzuki says that ‘you’re the fuel’ but what makes ‘you’, the car buyer, the perfect fodder for the Swift? Allow us to explain!
5 Reasons that make the Maruti Suzuki Swift tick
1. Herd mentality, or in nicer terms, word of mouth. Indians love herds, and budget car buying usually is a collective enterprise of the family, with neighbors, cousins and even kids making their opinions count. And what’s popular usually becomes more popular, especially if it’s a Maruti Suzuki.
Basically, this is how the Swift ends up in peoples’ garages.
Prospective Buyer: I want to buy a car. How is your Swift?
Swift Owner: Ah, the Swift is the best car in the world. Just go for it. It’s a Maruti Suzuki man.
Prospective Buyer: Ok, I’m booking it tomorrow.
Swift Owner: So, when are you taking the test drive.
Prospective Buyer: What test drive?
And the story goes on.
2. It’s got something for everyone. If you’re an enthusiast, you’ll dig the turbo punch that the Swift Diesel delivers, and then there’s that creamy refinement on the petrol powered model. Dynamics wise, meatier rubber is usually the only change required to make the Swift cartloads of fun when the going gets twisty. If you’re a mileage seeker, pun not intended, the Swift shall answer. Reliable? Check. Easy to maintain in ship shape? Double check. This is one car that both you and your grandfather can be seen driving without one embarrassing the other.
3. It’s a Maruti Suzuki. Every car with the Maruti Suzuki badge on the bonnet promises two things – A fantastic after sales service experience in every corner of the country and access to spare parts. The kind of trust that the Maruti Suzuki brand has garnered, on the back of the legendary 800 and multiple best selling car models, is unparalleled in the industry, and even your mother-in-law will agree with you on this one. So there, the brand is a big reason why the Swift is so successful despite a few deficiencies.
4. The resale value is outstanding. The Swift, like most hot selling Maruti Suzuki cars, holds its value very well. In the pre-owned car market, the Swift, goes swift. Period. In an era where upgrading cars every 3-4 years is in vogue, good resale is something that drives hatchback buyers towards the Swift in droves. And Maruti Suzuki’s stellar reputation does half the leg work.
5. ‘The sum of the parts is greater than the whole’ and this adage fits the Swift to a T. Though not the most powerful nor the most fuel efficient, nor even the most spacious, multiple factors come together in the Swift to make the package a compelling one for most buyers. It’s an all rounder, or to put it more succinctly, it’s akin to the traditional Indian Thali meal that has a little of everything. This attracts a disparate set of buyers, across demographies, who all have one common aim though – ‘I want a great hatchback’.
Threats to the Swift?
In March 2015, Hyundai dispatched 12,812 units of the i20 Elite and Active hatchbacks combined. The Swift did 16,722 units. Now, this is the maximum that the Elite i20 and its crossover derivative have ever managed in India, and the numbers could well be due to the fact that the i20 Active just entered the market. However, it must be said that the Elite i20 is the only car that has mounted a significant challenge to the likes the Swift in India.
The reason why the Elite i20 is selling like hot cakes isn’t hard to fathom. Hyundai’s flagship hatchback in India exudes premiumness right from the word go. The spacious interiors are top notch and the car feel very well put together. Quality levels all around, are very impressive. The diesel engine is powerful, fuel efficient and tractable while the petrol motor is smooth and responsive. The i20 Elite is one of the better handling cars with the slanting H badge on the bonnet, while the ride quality is reasonably plush too. Then there’s the way it looks, and that’s a big draw indeed. And with the i20 Active variant that brings higher ground clearance into the equation, it may seem that the Swift’s glory days are numbered.
How will Maruti Suzuki respond?
Y-R-A. India’s largest car maker has an ace up its sleeve, and the code-name is YRA. Why, the car could even be named the Fronx, and if anyone can pull such a name off, it’s Maruti Suzuki. Jokes apart, the YRA code-named premium B+ segment hatchback could upset the Elite i20’s applecart. And make hay when the sun shines, is what Hyundai could be thinking, especially given what’s impending.
The Swift is not yet done with, no sir far from it. In the near term, a hybrid variant of the hatchback is in the works and so is a version that will pack an automated manual transmission. Now, a diesel powered AMT variant of the Swift could shake things up a little. So, can the Maruti Suzuki Swift be beaten. We’ll revisit this space in a year from now. Until then, ‘you’re the fuel’.