Maruti Suzuki , India's largest car manufacturer, is offering a whopping Rs 300,000 discount on the premium sedan Kizashi to entice buyers ahead of the festive season.
Kizashi, which Suzuki brings to India as a fully imported unit, was launched here last February in the hope to pushing its brand higher up in the value chain. However its steep price tag made it difficult to find buyers.
Kizashi saw a stellar 85 per cent drop in sales in the April-August period this year with sales at just 23 units or little more one unit a week. However, the company did not witness any buyer purchase the premium car which was priced at Rs 17.12 lakh for the manual version. This has forced the company, which is struggling with demand slide, to offer the Rs 3.12 lakh discount on the car. Last year during the same period the company saw sales of 157 units, according to data provided by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers.
Other models in the segment or slightly higher than the Kizashi, including the Honda Accord, Skoda Superb, Nissan Teana and the Hyundai Sonata, have much better market share in the domestic market.
In India, Kizashi is imported as completely built unit, attracts import duties of more than 105 per cent, thereby doubling its price. The company had stated its intention of making way for a local assembly of the car depending upon the responses to reduce its price.
The Kizashi utilises a direct ignition system for increased fuel efficiency with decreased emissions. The fuel tank capacity of the car is 63 litre.
Experts believe that the company which has tried to enter the premium car segment with Kizashi has not been able to sustain its position in the segment due to the high price of the car. Further, the brand association of Maruti primarily as a manufacturer of compact cars has played a spoil sport in allowing the company to charge a premium.