What Happened with Maruti Suzuki’s First Luxury Sedan ?
Maruti Suzuki is a legendary car brand. When one hears the name, they immediately remember models like 800, Zen, Alto, WagonR, etc. That’s because the models have sold very well and we can spot many of them on the roads.
But some Maruti Suzuki models didn’t do particularly well in the country. This led to their discontinuation. Kizashi is one of them. The car got praises for its attention to detail, refinement and comfort at launch. But nowadays, no one even remembers this model. It is a rare sight to see one on Indian Roads. But what made it a disappointment? Let’s take a look:-
Maruti Suzuki Kizashi: Underrated And Overpriced
Before going to the flaws, let’s see the good features of the Maruti Suzuki Kizashi. It gets features like ABS and TCS, Front and Rear Airbags plus full side curtain airbags as standard. The all-wheel-drive option gets an enhanced stability control system. Kizashi’s handling and steering feedback were better than all models of Maruti Suzuki back then. It also got a 5-star safety rating from ANCAP. Sadly, these were overshadowed by the flaws.
The Kizashi got only one engine option. A 2.4-litre 4-cylinder engine, generating 185 HP and 230 Nm of torque. It came with a six-speed manual or a CVT transmission. Due to the prices of Petrol in the country, the running costs for Kizashi were High. This is due to its large 63-litre fuel tank plus lower city and highway average (9 kmpl and 12 kmpl respectively).
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Recalls in Other Countries
In 2010’s June, 5107 Kizashis were recalled due to a glove box door that could open in a crash. Another recall was in the year 2014’s June for the reason of spiders weaving webs into the evaporative canister which in turn blocks the canister. This would generate negative pressure in excess within the tank which could produce cracks in fuel tanks. This increased probability of fire.
As Maruti Suzuki was uncertain about customers’ response to the model, they decided to bring it to India as a CBU (Completely Built-Up) unit. This is from where things went wrong. The cost of Kizashi was around Rs. 13-14 Lakhs in the United States. Whereas in India, it started around Rs. 16.50 Lakh for Manual and 17.50 Lakh for Automatic variant due to 105% import duty.
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Maruti Suzuki’s Brand Image
Maruti Suzuki only produced cars that were value-for-money cars before Kizashi. The Company usually targetted middle-class people and designed the cars specifically. The arrival of Maruti Suzuki Kizashi changed this. Its price put it in the Premium Sedan Segment, which was popular among the Chauffeur-driven people. The Usual Customers didn’t like the idea of a Premium D-Segment Sedan from Maruti and the rich people preferred other brands.
The Kizashi Should’ve been put in the compact and midsize models (as far its USD to INR price goes). But its Indian price put it in the premium luxury cars’ category. In the category, the competition was already fierce with well-known cars like Volkswagen Jetta, Toyota Camry, Hyundai Sonata and the legendary Honda Accord.
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What means ‘Omen’, ‘Sign’ or ‘Warning’ in Japanese seemed to be warning Suzuki itself not to launch a product like it again. Lack of demand and the problems in existing models made Suzuki discontinue the model in 2014.
The Kizashi was not a bad product. But its steep price and its placement in the wrong category are the main reasons for its downfall. If it was manufactured locally, it would’ve helped lower its price and place it in the right category. Hence, we can say that Kizashi was the kid whose future was ruined by his family and their decisions. If Maruti Suzuki is still thinking of launching a luxury sedan, they should try not to repeat the mistakes they did with the Kizashi.
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