We’re months away from the launch of the Ciaz, a new C-Segment sedan from Maruti Suzuki that will replace the SX4 sedan. The Ciaz will be available with petrol and turbo diesel engine options. Initial rumours around the car suggested that it would be equipped with an automated manual transmission, on the lines of the Celerio hatchback. Now though, a new rumour suggests that Maruti Suzuki will skip an AMT on the Ciaz and will instead opt for a CVT automatic gearbox on the 1.4 liter (94 Bhp-130 Nm) K-Series petrol engined car. The Fiat Multijet 1.3 liter (90 Bhp-200 Nm) diesel engined version of the Ciaz will be a manual gearbox-only affair.
Maruti Suzuki’s decision to not offer the AMT option on the Ciaz Petrol is said to be based on customer perception. The AMT option is a low cost affair, favoured by lower priced cars, and commercial vehicles. Therefore, offering an AMT option on the Ciaz could reduce the premium appeal of the car, a chance that Maruti Suzuki doesn’t seem interested to take. From the looks of it, the Ciaz is likely to be positioned as a premium offering, rubbing shoulders with the recently launched Honda City sedan.
The car could be more spacious and larger than the SX4, given the Chinese versions 4,545 mm length. However, it remains to be seen if Maruti Suzuki retains the long wheelbase design of the China-spec Ciaz or whether the automaker pares down the length of the Ciaz to suit the Indian car market’s C-Segment. If Maruti Suzuki chooses to retain the 4.5 meter length of the Ciaz, the car will be bordering D-Segment sedan territory, which then brings us to the big ticket matter of pricing.
Given Maruti Suzuki’s lack of success in cars belonging to the C-Segment and above due to the image of the car maker being that of a small car specialist, the company would need to play the value card to convince C-Segment buyers to look beyond the Citys and Vernas of this world. A premium pricing ploy might not work with the Ciaz given Maruti Suzuki’s current image. So, it’ll be very interesting to note how Maruti Suzuki walks the tight rope of offering a value price tag even as it seeks to underscore the premium appeal of the Ciaz.