New Maruti Suzuki Baleno is one of the most awaited upcoming cars in India for the year 2015. Unveiled at the recent Frankfurt Motor Show, the new Baleno hatchback will be finally launched here on 26th of this month – amidst all the festive fervour. The bookings have already opened ahead of the official launch through the company’s dealership range of NEXA showrooms and the deliveries are expected to begin within a week from the launch.
The familiar name
The name Baleno is in fact, a comeback for the company as it had mid-sized sedan of the same name during 1999 – 2007. However it failed to last in the market for long. Maruti is now trying to bring back the old name to life in a hatchback form. Although the new hatchback is named after the former premium sedan, there is absolutely nothing common between the two cars. The new 2015 Baleno was actually codenamed as the iK2 globally and within India as the YRA hatchback.
Maruti has based the Baleno on the new design concept of Liquid Flow which makes it a handsome car with flowing curves and elegant styling. There are no radical elements in its design but the simplicity is sure to catch attention. Baleno will be the first car in India to get Apple CarPlay which helps an iPhone user to do several things without touching the phone while driving. The car will also have other present-day luxury and safety features like touchscreen infotainment system with steering mounted controls, 2-DIN music system, cruise control, keyless entry, ABS, EBD and airbags among many others. Baleno hatchback is expected to get a 1.2-litre petrol and 1.3-litre diesel engines. It might also get a CVT option for the petrol variant, which is the first for a Maruti Suzuki car.
Position in the market
Maruti Suzuki already has a good seller in the hatchback segment – the Swift, but none in the upper premium hatchback segment. Baleno is brought in to fill up this gap and it will be surely positioned above the Swift in the car market. Maruti targets the Baleno to the upper middle class income group, who wishes to upgrade from a smaller hatchback to a premium one with more style and features but with same efficiency and value.
Price and competition
Honda New Jazz, Volkswagen Polo and Hyundai Elite i20 are currently the other popular cars in this segment, against whom Baleno has to compete with. It all depends on how Maruti balances the affordable price equation for the Baleno while upholding its premium tag. It is widely speculated that Maruti will offer Baleno in a price range of Rs 6 to Rs 8 lakhs.