16/09/2015 9:32 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST

Suzuki Motor Unveils Its Premium Hatchback Baleno; India Debut In Few Weeks

Bloomberg via Getty Images
The Suzuki Motor Corp. logo sits on the steering wheel of the company's new Solio Bandit vehicle during the unveiling in Tokyo, Japan, on Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015. Toshihiro Suzuki, 56, became president on June 30, concentrating on executing strategy set by the board, which will be headed by Osamu Suzuki, 85, who stays on as chairman and chief executive officer. Photographer: Akio Kon/Bloomberg via Getty Images

FRANKFURT-- Japanese small car major Suzuki Motor Corp on Tuesday unveiled its premium hatchback Baleno, which is likely to be launched in India in the next few weeks.

"By using our creativity and technology we intend to continue to deliver products that exceed customer expectations... Our first step for Europe in this direction is Baleno, featuring a new-generation platform, new direct injection turbo booster jet engine...," Suzuki Motor Corp President T Suzuki said here at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

While the model will be launched in Europe during spring next year, the company's Indian arm Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) is expected to launch it in the domestic market around the festive season this year.

"Baleno will be sold through our new premium network of showrooms, Nexa," MSI Managing Director and CEO Kenichi Ayukawa said.

The premium hatchback from India's biggest carmaker will be available in both petrol and diesel options. The petrol variant will be powered by a 1.2 litre engine, while the diesel one will have a 1.3 litre engine.

Baleno in India will have Apple CarPlay, an initiative in car entertainment system from the global leader of smartphones.

Maruti Suzuki will be the first OEM in India to offer Apple CarPlay for its customers.

Besides the domestic market, the new model will also be exported to Suzuki's global markets from India.

Baleno will add to Maruti Suzuki's portfolio in the premium compact hatchback segment and it will take on the likes of Hyundai i20, Honda Jazz and Volkswagen Polo.

"The model will be produced only in India from where it will be exported to other countries," Ayukawa said.

As the production version of the iK-2 concept vehicle displayed at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show in March, the Baleno "harmoniously combines stylish design, spacious interior and new technologies".

Although the new model shares name with erstwhile premium sedan Baleno, MSI said "there's nothing common between the two models. They are completely different."

Maruti Suzuki had discontinued the mid-sized sedan Baleno in 2006 and was replaced by SX4 later on. The company, at present, has Ciaz in the premium sedan segment.

MSI said it will have a "high number of new model launches" in this fiscal, including a compact sport utility vehicle, as it looks to consolidate its leadership position.

It has set a target of achieving two million sales annually by 2020. In order to boost presence in the premium segment, it has launched a new model S-Cross, which will be retailed through the company's Nexa outlets.

Last year in August, MSI Chairman RC Bhargava had said that the company would need to double the number of its models to 25, including entries into SUV and LCV segments, as it aims a target to sell three million cars annually.

He, however, said only market would determine by when the company could touch the three-million mark.

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