Maruti Suzuki cars continue to occupy the first three places in the Indian car market but there’s been a rejig in the order. The Maruti Dzire compact sedan and Baleno premium hatchback are now India’s two top selling cars, and the Alto budget hatchback has been pushed to third place. In March 2019, Maruti Suzuki dispatched 19,935 units of the Dzire, 17,264 units of the Baleno and 16,826 units of the Alto.
So, what makes for lower Alto dispatches in March 2019? Well, the answer is BNVSAP. An acronym for Bharat New Vehicle Safety Assessment Program, BNVSAP mandates that all cars sold in India feature at least a driver airbag, ABS, speed alerts, seat belt reminder and reverse parking sensors as the minimum safety trim from the 1st of April 2019.
The Alto is yet to recieve these safety features as standard, and the lower number of dispatches reflect the fact that Maruti is all set to begin producing the safety feature equipped versions of the Alto 800 and Alto K10. Notably, the safer versions of the Alto are likely to hit the market later this month. Don’t be surprised to see a big bump up in dispatch numbers for the Alto in April 2019.
Aside of BNVSAP, car sales in India has been showing a marked change over the past couple of years. The likes of the Maruti Baleno and Dzire are now rising above the entry level cars like the Alto 800 and the K10 models. Buyers are now choosing to buy more expensive vehicles as their first cars, and also the cab market is driving sales of certain cars – particularly the Dzire. Also, a lot of first time car buyers are opting for more premium cars from the used car market even as prices of brand new cars have steadily increased over the years. This is fueling a boom in the used car market as well as many buyers find brand new cars a little too expensive.
Talking of the Maruti Dzire and Baleno, both cars gets both petrol and diesel engines. They are based on the same HEARTECT platform, and are lightweight cars. The petrol engine offered on the Dzire and Baleno is the 1.2 liter K- Series unit with 82 Bhp-113 Nm while the diesel engine is the 1.3 liter Fiat Multijet turbocharged unit with 74 Bhp- 190 Nm. Both engines get 5 speed manual gearboxes as standard.
On the Dzire, Maruti offers a 5 speed AMT with both engines while the Baleno gets a CVT automatic gearbox on the petrol motor. The Baleno is also sold in RS trim, which features a 1 liter-3 cylinder turbocharged petrol engine that makes 101 Bhp-150 Nm. The Baleno RS gets a 5 speed manual gearbox as standard. While the Dzire gets a compact sedan form factor, the Baleno is marketed as a spacious, premium hatchback. Prices of the Maruti Baleno start from Rs. 5.55 lakhs, ex-showoroom Delhi while those of the Dzire start from Rs. 5.7 lakhs.