Contrary to the rumours going around the automobile world about the possible combination of AMT (Automated Manual Transmission) and the upcoming Maruti Suzuki Ciaz, Autocar India says that there are no such plans. According to a company source, AMT is considered to be a ‘poor man’s automatic’, and will not do justice in a premium segment. Instead the Maruti Suzuki Ciaz CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) variant will be offered, paired with the 1.4-litre, 94 BHP/130 Nm K-Series petrol engine. The Fiat Multijet 1.3-liter, 90 BHP / 200 Nm diesel engined version of the Ciaz will be a manual gearbox-only affair. From the looks of it, Maruti is gearing up to take the recently launched Honda City head on by equipping its own with identical high end technology. While Maruti showcased the concept Ciaz at the Auto Expo in February 2014, a near-production ready model for the Chinese market, called Suzuki Alivio, was shown at the Beijing Motor Show in April 2014.
The Ciaz is Maruti’s new C-segment sedan which will be introduced to take over from the SX4, it will be available in both petrol and diesel variants. The car is expected to be more spacious than the SX4, given the Chinese versions 4,545 mm length. However, it remains to be seen if Maruti Suzuki retains the long wheelbase design of the China-spec Alivio or whether the automaker pares down the length of the Ciaz to suit the Indian car market’s C-Segment. If Maruti Suzuki chooses to retain the 4.5 meter length of the Ciaz, the car will be bordering D-Segment sedan territory, which will raise concerns on its pricing. The Ciaz is expected to launch towards the festive season in 2014, most probably in the July-August period. A report earlier this month revealed that Maruti had already completed trial production of the Ciaz at its Manesar facility in Haryana. The same report mentioned that production of the SX4, the Ciaz’s predecessor, had come to a stop.
Given Maruti Suzuki’s lack of success in the C-Segment and above due to the image of the car maker being that of a small car specialist, the company would need to play the value card to convince C-Segment buyers to look beyond the Citys and Vernas. A premium pricing ploy might not work with the Ciaz given Maruti Suzuki’s current image. So, it’ll be very interesting to note how Maruti Suzuki walks the tight rope of offering a value price tag even as it seeks to underscore the premium appeal of the Ciaz.