Even as the car industry is facing a slowdown with customer sentiment coming down, Maruti Suzuki is facing a peculiar problem. Most people are preferring to buy the more expensive top end variants of its best selling models Swift, Swift DZire and Ertiga that has created a long waiting period for these models.
The demand for top end models of the Ertiga, Swift DZire and Swift is so high that Maruti Suzuki is struggling to source the required number of alloy wheels that need to be fitted to these cars. Alloy wheels are one of the major additions to the top end variants. Maruti Suzuki had expected an equal division of sales of the three models in terms of variants.
However demand for the top end Zdi and Zxi variants has been very high. Sources from Maruti Suzuki have revealed that the long waiting period for these models is due to the non availability of required number of alloy wheels. Maruti Suzuki has only one vendor supplying it alloy wheels as per its requirements and the supplier is facing capacity constraints.
To solve this problem, Maruti Suzuki is reportedly planning to launch a new variant of the Ertiga MPV that carries all the features of the top end variant but instead of alloy wheels will only have standard steel wheels. The carmaker is hoping this new Ertiga variant will help it reduce the waiting period.
The new Ertiga variant will be cheaper by Rs.25,000 too making it an attractive option for people who wanted to buy the mid level variant. Maruti Suzuki might launch this new variant as soon as next week and deliveries are expected to follow immediately. The new Ertiga variant's steel wheels will have full wheel covers and will look like alloy wheels.
Maruti Suzuki is not planning to add a similar variant to the Swift or the Swift DZire. Both these cars also have a huge demand for their top end models. Maruti Suzuki has conceded that it did not expect such a huge demand for the high end models. Demand for such models was at 20% three years ago and the number has shot up to 80% this year.
The Ertiga's waiting period for the top end variant is close to one year. The situation is similar in case of the Swift and Swift DZire too. Some customers have already switched to lower end models which are cheaper by Rs.1 lakh instead of waiting for so long. Maruti Suzuki is aiming at retaining these customers by offering a new Ertiga variant which has all premium features but for the alloy wheels.