Maruti Suzuki India on Tuesday launched the diesel variant of its SX4 sedan at an introductory price of Rs.7.74-8.62 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi).

“The new age diesel technology as offered by SX4 is high on power and performance, while being low on emissions. SX4 diesel offers an economical and punchier ride,” Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) Managing Director and CEO Shinzo Nakanishi told reporters here.

The company expected the new variant to be as successful as other diesel cars from MSI's stable, he added.

Swift, DZiRE and Ritz are the three other cars from the company that are available in diesel variants.

MSI claims that the SX4 diesel will give a mileage of 21.5 km a litre. The SX4 also comes in petrol and CNG variants.

When asked how much sales the company is targeting from the new variant, MSI Managing Executive Officer (Marketing and Sales) Mayank Pareek said: “now we are selling 1,500-1,600 units of petrol SX4. We expect this overall volume to go up, but we have not fixed any numbers yet.”

According to the company's estimates, the market size of the A3 segment, where MSI is present with its sedans SX4 and DZiRE, was about 30,000 units a month, he added. “MSI's share is about 36 per cent and we see good opportunity in the A3 segment,” Mr. Pareek said, adding that about 60-65 per cent of the total car buyers in India preferred diesel variants.

The company now manufactures 1.3 litre diesel engines at the Manesar facility with an annual installed production capacity of three lakh units. On the possibility of lowering the import duty on cars in the forthcoming budget, Mr. Nakanishi said: “There should be a level of competitiveness and domestic industry should be encouraged. If the import duty on car is lowered substantially, it will hurt the domestic auto industry.”

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