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It was in the year 1999 when Maruti Suzuki decided to launch a family hatchback with a tall boy design. Maruti wanted to offer a hatchback which is roomier and practical for the Indian market. Also, the company was facing severe competition from Hyundai Santro which boasted of all the features that Maruti wanted to offer.
Maruti launched the humble Wagon R in December 1999, and since then, the family hatchback has undergone four facelifts, the most recent being in 2013.
As per Financial Express, Maruti Wagon R became the third car from the carmaker to reach 2 million sales milestone after the Alto and the discontinued Maruti 800.
The Wagon R is regular in the top 10 selling passenger cars in India for years.Indian buyers have been impressed with the Wagon R because it is easy to drive, comfortable, offers class-leading mileage, affordable pricing, and hassle-free ownership have led to the popularity of the Wagon R.
The Maruti Wagon R lagged a bit in sales in the last couple of years owing to poor demand in rural and semi-rural markets. However, in April to August 2017, the sales of Alto and Wagon R increased by 28 percent compared to the same period in the last financial year.
According to RS Kalsi, senior executive director - sales & marketing, Maruti Suzuki, first-time buyers of Maruti Wagon R stood at 35 percent in 2005, and it increased to 46-47 percent in 2016-17. This a reflection of the brand value of the Wagon R has enjoyed since it was introduced in the Indian market.
Maruti Suzuki has been upgrading the Wagon R at regular intervals to keep the momentum going. The company introduced new features on the Wagon R such as dual airbags, ABS, multiple fuel options, premium interiors and Auto Gear Shift (AGS) technology.
The Wagon R is not just popular among passenger vehicle buyers but even commercial vehicle customers, comprising 5 percent of the total sales.
Maruti is working on a complete model change for the Wagon R and is expected to be launched in 2018 or 2019. The Maruti Wagon R is available in petrol and CNG variants. Powering the Wagon R is a 1.0-litre petrol unit which produces 67bhp on petrol and 58bhp on CNG mode and 90 Nm of torque on petrol mode and 77Nm on CNG.
The engine comes mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox and the option of AMT, on the VXi and VXi+ variants. Maruti offers dual airbags as optional on the hatchback and as a standard fitment in the top variant.
The Maruti Suzuki Wagon R is a versatile family hatchback and is very practical for the Indian buyers. The hatchback offers a great ride and handling along with excellent fuel efficiency. Additionally, Maruti's extensive sales and service network add better ownership experience to Wagon R customers and the reason behind the success of the Maruti Wagon R in India.