Swift at 35!

Maruti Suzuki has officially opened bookings for the new Swift. The new Maruti Suzuki Swift can be booked for a token amount of Rs 11,000. The car was also showcased to media today. We decided to track the evolution of Swift as a model and also assess its sales statistics in the Indian market.

Tracing the venerable vehicle back to its roots,the first thing we noticed was the Swift badge has been slapped on a lot of vehicles over the past 35 years! Not just talking about its four generations,each generation itself contains a dizzying range of body styles and engine and transmission options ,not to mention the variants produced for the Japanese and the Americans and other foreign countries.

It all started with General Motor’s M Platform. The GM M platform was the designation used by GM for the platform that underpinned the second and third generation Suzuki Cultus and its offspring (Swift). It was designed at GM’s Technical Center in Warren, Michigan, USA. Suzuki designed all the engines, drivetrains and actual body initially. From 1985 through 1989, all models were imported from Suzuki’s facilities in Hamamatsu, Japan. From 1990 on, all North American M-cars were produced at CAMI Automotive in Ingersoll, Ontario, Canada with the exception of the convertible and turbocharged models which were imported from Japan.

Suzuki Cultus (rebadged as Swift outside Japan)

GM did not find the project profitable and the unfinished design was sold to Suzuki. The project was completed by Suzuki and they launched the car as the ‘Cultus’ in the Japanese market. The Swift name plate was used by Suzuki in the markets of Austallia and the Newzealand. Even GM badge engineered it to launch it as Cheverlet Sprint in North America.(The third generation M platform was only sold by Suzuki as the Suzuki Swift in North America as Suzuki decided to create their own Swift to market around the world.)

This is how the first Gen SWIFT looked like!

The First generation Swift was introduced in the year 2000 as a replacement for the Suzuki Cultus. Outside Japan, the “Suzuki Ignis” name was used! Both three- and five-door hatchback body styles were offered, although the three-door was not offered as part of the regular lineup in Japan.

2nd Gen Swift!

The Second generation of the Swift marked a significant departure with the previous Cultus-based models, with Suzuki redesigning the vehicle as less of a “low price alternative” subcompact and more of a “sporty” subcompact hatch. The Swift’s design and driving characteristics focused on the European market with its chassis refined through a road-testing program across Europe.

3rd Gen Swift

The Third generation Swift is currently in sale at the Indian market. It had its wheelbase extended by 50 millimeters over the previous second generation and has many visual updates. While the new car looks different from the old one, its design is an evolution of the radical second generation styling with a longer and more rounded appearance.

4th Gen Swift

The Fourth generation Swift debuted in Japan on 27 December 2016. The hatchback is built on the ‘HEARTECT’ platform which made its debut in 2015 and is the same lightweight platform used for the production of hatchbacks Baleno and Ignis!

Sales Statistics of Maruti Suzuki Swift in India –

  • ~18 Lakh Swift’s has been sold in the Indian soil till date in past 13 years
  • Swift saw a downward trend since 2015 (post the launch of Nexa Baleno). However, it still sells a whopping 1.67 Lakh units/year!
  • The upcoming Swift will carry the same lightweight platform as the current gen Baleno / Ignis.

Swift at 35 years, clearly has carried on the legacy of the Suzuki and this generation will carry on for more years. Swift has made major contribution in making Suzuki a true global car manufacturer and making Suzuki carrying on pole position in India. Surely it is the most anticipated launch of the year and the buzz will explode very soon.

Data Source: Wiki

(This article is written by the latest addition in our team – Gourav Saksham, a dentist by profession and a Petrohead by passion. You can connect with him at gouravsaksham@gmail.com)

2 thoughts to “Swift at 35!”

  1. Good to see ABS, Isofix child seat brackets and dual front airbags as standard. Side curtain airbags should be an option in upgrades. Hope people stop putting their kids in the front seat.

  2. I remember, in 90s, Maruti used to make customers wait for at least 3 months from booking to delivery because of monopoly it had in affordable car market, and seriously there was no concept of test drive at all. Post 1998, thanks to Hyundai, Maruti’s luxury has had gone with launch of Santro, a product which actually reshaped Indian market for what it is now. In aftermath Maruti had to work hard to sell.

    Then came Swift in 2005 and along, it brought the concept of waitlist back in highly competitive market. Then it was not monopoly but pure product-charisma. Some say it was like Mini of yesteryear, fun and peppy, made for people who are young at heart. It was radical looking, and nobody ever imagined that Maruti could bring radical elements of a concept car displayed in 2002 to a production car, considering that they use to make uninspiring WagonR. In India that was really a great breakthrough in product development and planning, especially in hatchback segment. 🙂

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