Last year when Maruti Suzuki launched the Baleno premium hatchback in India, the carmaker also revealed its plans to exports it to Japan and other global markets. It was a major step for the Indo-Japanese carmaker who has for the first time exported an India-made car to its home market. Taking a much further step now, Maruti Suzuki has now announced that it will be exporting the Baleno premium hatchback to Europe as well starting this month.
If you see Maruti's export history up until now, the carmaker's success in that area is not very impressive. Even though it continues to export small numbers of Swift, Celerio, etc. the export figures are barely worth mentioning compared to rival brands like Hyundai and Nissan. While the South Korean carmaker is seeing some major growth by exporting the i20 and Creta, fellow Japanese carmaker Nissan has a much greater hold on export markets rather domestic market compared to Maruti. In fact in the past Maruti used to export Alto and A-Star to Western Europe too, but it has never been able to match the numbers achieved by Hyundai or Nissan.
When Maruti began dispatching the India-made Baleno to Japan, the carmaker had revealed that it will be exporting it to over 100 global markets. Now as it re-enters Europe this fiscal with the Baleno, Maruti has opened the flood gates to new global markets like Italy, France, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark and Spain among others. According to the information we have received, the first shipment to Europe is ready and will leave this month from Mundra. This gives Maruti Suzuki a considerable bump in the on-going export race among Indian car manufacturers, especially considering the fact how successful the Beleno was in India.
Now we believe that the Baleno is only the beginning and there is a long list cars yet to come. Like the Baleno, Maruti is also working on updating its next generation products to match international standards. The Vitara Brezza is one such example. Soon these next generation models will find their way to Europe and various other global markets, expanding Maruti's exports division at a much larger scale.
Suzuki will be launching the premium hatchback in its home market later in March. The first consignment to Japan comprised of 1,800 units and was also shipped from Mundra Port in Gujarat, where Suzuki Motor Company is setting up a manufacturing plant to supply cars to its Indian arm. The company and its supplier partners have invested 1,060 crore in the development of Baleno, which is being manufactured at the company's Manesar plant.
As for which Baleno variants will be exported to the European markets, Maruti Suzuki is yet to reveal more information on that. But we believe it will be the one which is equipped with the 1.4-litre petrol engine that churns out a maximum of 91bhp and a peak torque of 130Nm. Currently the Maruti Suzuki Baleno sold in India is powered by the Swift's 1.2-litre K-series petrol engine and the 1.3-litre DDiS diesel motor, producing 83bhp and 115Nm of peak torque and 74bhp and 190Nm of peak torque respectively. Transmission duties are taken care of by a 5 speed manual gearbox and a 5-speed CVT unit.