When Maruti Suzuki decided to take the premium route, many thought that Maruti does not belong to this segment as it had failed previously with the Grand Vitara SUV and the Kizashi sports sedan. These vehicles are though some of the best vehicles in the global automotive industry.
Back in October 2015, Maruti Suzuki launched the Baleno, a premium hatchback with the best of features. This included the standard fitment of the safety feature of dual airbags and ABS with EBD at the launch price of Rs 4.99 lakh ex-showroom for the base variant.
This combination took many by surprise not just buyers, but even its competitors. The Baleno went on to crack the top 10 selling cars within a couple of months of its launch.
It's been a year since the launch, is the Baleno still one of the best premium hatchback? Maruti decided to raise its prices three times - first was an increase of Rs 12,000 in January 2016, Rs 16,999 in March and then Rs 10,000 ex-showroom (Delhi).
Maruti Suzuki cited input cost or in layman's term, production cost had gone up and was drilled down to the cost of the Baleno.
With the price hike and the waiting period, the Baleno has crossed one lakh in sales in India and 33,800 units in exports to its parent company's land, Japan and some countries in Europe.
Presently, the Maruti Baleno commands waiting period of six-seven months for the petrol and diesel engines.
The CVT variant of the Baleno commands eight months of waiting period, despite the waiting period, the bookings for the Baleno has not declined.
This has kept both the customers and its Nexa dealerships at tenterhooks in delivering the commitment of a Baleno on the road.