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Old 23rd September 2011, 11:39   #16
getsriram's Avatar
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Default Re: Maruti SX4 Diesel : Test Drive

The longer they push the upgrade / uplift to SX4, it is going to be dangerous for the Maruti brand in India. Not that I wish for one. But just look at what has happened over the years with competition.

Bottom up : Players like Hyundai started with small cars and slowly expanded their offering and now has a car almost in every segment, including a SUV.

Top down: Players such as Honda and Toyota and to some extent VW started from C+ segments and have managed to expand on the top end and have now managed to encroach on the small car segment as well. Quite successful as well.

on the contrary, for Maruti, SX4 is their only offering in the C segment. Kizashi is a failure in the premium segment. Grand Vitara are only in the books. So they are solely relying on their small car offering and they have a fleet of them targeting the same audience. When competition also begins to offer so many cars (already hyundai is doing it), the customer will have dozens of options to choose from. Remember when everybody starts to see huge volume numbers for small cars, they can also provide cars a cheaper price. So MS will be left out without any competitive edge in small car segment and no worthy product to offer in other segments. That is why it is dangerous for Maruti.

Another point when OEMs offer cars in different segments. When Toyota and Honda entered the small car segment, the No. of bookings for the car without being TD were outstanding. Toyota in particular. The primary reason was that the potential customer believed that Toyota could not go wrong in a new car and would satisfy their need. This was based on their or market's experience with their existing products. Same for Honda. The City is a torch bearer for the brand in India, despite being pricey. So the same goes for Maruti as well. If they cannot revive the SX4 and position it better, it would send a message to the market that "Maruti is a good car when it comes to cheap small car, but if someone is looking for more refined and classy ones, look somewhere else". When that image spreads its doomed. Remember how everyone in the market today says for Tata cars "everything in the car is really nice, but for the engine" (inspite of the Fiat engine in Quadrajet. For Fiat "Cars are fantastic, but after sales is bad, let me not take a risk with that"

So end point is - Earning a status in the market is tough work (which Maruti has done). But retaining is ever more hard work. If some fails there, the impact of the fall will be hard.
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