Maruti Suzuki is planning to launch is first compact sedan ever, the Swift Dzire Compact Sedan, at the upcoming 2012 Indian Auto Expo. The Swift Dzire Compact Sedan will basically be a Swift Dzire Sedan whose boot has been chopped off, for the car to measure in at under 4 meters in length. This will endow Maruti Suzuki with excise duty cuts meant for cars under 4 meters in length, which the automaker will pass on to you the customer.
So, what we have with the Maruti Suzuki Swift Dzire Compact Sedan is a car which will cost much lesser than the regular Swift Dzire Sedan while retaining most of the features of a sedan, save for the size of the boot. Maruti Suzuki has already commenced trial runs of the Swift Dzire Compact Sedan at its Manesar plant and it is only a matter of time before we start spotting test mules of the Dzire Compact Sedan doing the rounds in India.
A few new details have emerged about the Dzire Compact Sedan. The Dzire Compact Sedan will also be exported from India, to Latin American countries and other emerging economies. This move from Maruti Suzuki means that the Dzire Compact Sedan would probably be one of the first compact sedans to be sold in countries other than India, as this category of cars are virtually non existent in other car markets.
That said, we don’t really see the point of Maruti choosing to export the Dzire Compact Sedan to other markets, if its low price is what is the bigger motivator. This, as the excise duty reduction that the Indian government doles out to cars measuring under 4 meters is a very specific measure, limited to India. Most other countries do not have this excise duty exemption and hence, the Dzire Compact Sedan might not enjoy any cost advantage when compared to the regular full-sized Dzire Sedan.
So, car buyers in other markets might not really warm up to the Dzire Compact Sedan, if they get a car that is not significantly cheaper than the regular Dzire Sedan with them also having to compromise on the boot space. On the other hand, Maruti might save some money manufacturing the Dzire Compact Sedan, which might make the car cheaper than the regular Dzire Sedan even without the excise duty benefits given by the Indian government.
In that case though, the Dzire Compact Sedan being cheaper than the regular Dzire Sedan could be a compelling choice for markets other than India. However, it still remains to see how much money Maruti Suzuki would actually save on the Dzire Compact Sedan vis-a-vis the regular Dzire Sedan. The Dzire Compact Sedan’s styling will be based on the new Maruti Suzuki Swift and so will be its interiors. So, expect better interiors and the rear leg room too to increase a bit.
Coming to the engine options that the Dzire Compact Sedan will offer, both petrol and diesel engines will make the cut. The petrol engine will be the same 1.2 Liter K-Series engine with dual variable valve technology to make for a power output of 87 Bhp. Apart from this responsive and fuel efficient petrol engine, Maruti will offer the 1.3 Liter Multijet turbo diesel engine producing 90 Bhp. The diesel engine will come with a variable geometry turbocharger for the higher power and torque output.
These engines will be mated to the same five speed manual transmission that Maruti currently offers on the Dzire Sedan. With the Dzire Compact Sedan scheduled to arrive in the next few months, the Toyota Etios Sedan will definitely feel some heat as the Dzire is a much more contemporary(though ugly) car than the Etios in all respects, right from the styling, to the interiors and to the engines on offer. That Maruti plans to price the Dzire Compact Sedan at around 4.5 Lakhs for the entry level base petrol variant should only make the going quite tough for the Etios Sedan.