10 years on and still going strong.
May 25, 2005 may not hold particular relevance to the world at large but for Indians with anything more than a passing interest in cars, it was a red letter day. Because on that summer afternoon, Maruti launched its most exciting car in its history – the Swift. That the car was being brought in mere months after it went on sale in Suzuki’s homeland of Japan. The car was not another last-gen hand-me-down product from abroad but a thoroughly modern one built to the latest international standards. It certainly looked like nothing else on Indian roads and, as an increasing number of buyers found out, drove like little else either. And we mean both in the best possible way.
Powered by the 87bhp, 1.3 petrol engine from the Esteem, the original car quickly made a reputation for being somewhat of a hot hatch. Enthusiasts simply couldn’t get enough of it. In addition, the stylish design, good ride and Maruti-typical brilliant fuel economy won it ever more admirers across the car buying public. And let’s not forget that it was also Autocar India’s Car of the Year 2006! Soon enough, the car made its entry into the list of best sellers in India, a position it hasn’t moved from in its decade in India.
By January 2007, the Swift found its 100,000th buyer. Of course, 2007’s next big moment for the model was the launch of the diesel variant. It featured the now omnipresent Fiat-sourced 1.3 Multijet and just widened the car’s appeal further. Buyers clearly couldn’t have enough of it and the company just couldn’t make enough of them. It literally got to a point where bakers wished their hot cakes would sell as fast as the Swift. The sales trajectory will tell you we aren’t hyping things. Maruti sold its 200,000th Swift in March 2008, 300,000th Swift in February 2009 and 500,000th Swift in January 2010.
2010 also saw the launch of the updated model. While the move was made to meet more stringent BS IV emission norms, there were no half measures. Maruti went ahead to change the petrol car’s engine with the company’s modern K12M 1.2-litre unit. The gearing was revised as well and the suspension was also reworked to improve ride quality. The last bit did take away some of the car’s razor-sharp handling but even then, the Maruti hatchback remained the car to beat.
Come August 2011 and Maruti had readied the second-generation Swift, another Autocar India Car of the Year. In many ways,the new car marked a return to form for the company and the model, what with its exciting handling and genuinely smile-inducing mannerism. Sure, the car had/has its weak areas in the limited rear seat space and small boot but the Swift brand seemed strong enough to have buyers accept its few compromises without a second thought. Even increased competition couldn’t hinder the car’s stanch popularity. Sales showed no signs of slowing down with the one millionth Swift in India being delivered in September 2013.
To keep up the momentum, the car was updated in 2014 with added features such as Bluetooth and keyless go. The updates have certainly played their part because as of April 2015, the Swift’s India sales tally has crossed a staggering 1.3 million units. And it’s still going strong!
While the car’s still too young to be mentioned in the history books, it is without a doubt a legend of our times and one that needs to be celebrated. Here’s hoping the automaker marks the car’s decade in existence by launching the 134bhp Swift Sport. Now that would be some party!
Source Autocar India