NEW DELHI -- Maruti Suzuki India on Tuesday rolled out an all-new version of its popular Dzire entry-level compact sedan, which debuted in 2008 as the Swift Dzire and went on to capture 50% of the market in its category.
Maruti Suzuki, India's largest passenger-car manufacturer, is 56% owned by Japan's Suzuki Motor.
Gasoline versions of the new model are priced between 545,000 rupees ($8,503) and 841,000 rupees, while diesel versions are priced between 645,000 rupees and 941,000 rupees.
"Our intent is always to keep the pricing as competitive as possible for customers," R.S. Kalsi, Maruti Suzuki's executive director for marketing and sales, told reporters at the launch. "This pricing [for the new Dzire] is quite aggressive."
The current Dzire holds half the market share in its category -- under 4 meters -- with 1.38 million units sold since 2008. Rival models include the Ford Aspire, the Honda Amaze, the Hyundai Xcent and the Tata Motors Tigor.
The new Dzire is manufactured at the company's plant in Manesar, in the northern state of Haryana. It is already compliant with frontal offset, side impact and pedestrian safety standards that will begin kicking in from October.
"It is more premium and spacious on the inside, complies with future safety norms and has the convenience of Auto Gear Shift (the company's automated shifting technology)," said Kenichi Ayukawa, managing director and CEO of Maruti Suzuki.
The new Dzire is built on Suzuki Motor's fifth-generation Heartect platform, which is designed to be lightweight, strong and fuel efficient. The model's 1.2-liter gasoline engine option has a fuel efficiency of 22kph, while the 1.3-liter diesel engine option offers a fuel efficiency of 28.4kph.
Maruti Suzuki sold 190,000 Dzires last year, capturing half the market segment. The rest of the market is shared between 17 other manufacturers. Preorders opened in early May and have already topped 33,000 units. "As of now, there is an eight-week wait for the car," Kalsi said.
Kalsi said he expects the new Dzire to "surpass the previous numbers by a big margin" and "be one of our highest-selling models."
Because the model will also be sold in such neighboring countries as Nepal and Sri Lanka, Maruti Suzuki expects sales to be higher in the coming year. The automaker and its suppliers have invested over 10 billion rupees in the development of the new Dzire, said C.V. Raman, Maruti Suzuki's executive director for engineering.
The Dzire's last full makeover was in 2012. The company has been making minor tweaks to the vehicle every two years to accommodate changing customer needs and preferences.
The third-generation Dzire will be sold under the passenger-car segment, while the outgoing Dzire has been renamed the Tour S and will be available as a taxi version.
"In line with our plan of coming out with 15 models by 2020, we have already launched nine models," Kalsi said. "As far as this year is concerned, we are going to launch two new models and [carry out] two minor changes [in vehicles]. This [new Dzire] is one of the two models."