Maruti Dzire’s counterattack on the Honda Amaze

When competition hots up, the meek become nervous and buckle under pressure…the not so meek neither so mighty, show resilience and soar higher than ever before. The Maruti Swift Dzire seems to belong to the second category.

These are early days yet of a rivalry that is poised to become the biggest of this year. The Honda Amaze is now 2 months old and within that time frame it has managed to do what the Japanese firm had hoped for – resuscitate its fortunes in India. With a backlog of over 30,000 units, the sheen is back in Honda showrooms across the country.

Very often, when a car enters the market and creates this kind of a flutter, those directly competing with it feel the heat. As an example, the launch of Renault Duster saw the beginning of the slide for Mahindra XUV (discussed at length in a previous post). In the case of Dzire though, the result has been a total contrast.

In March, the month when the shipments of the Amaze started, Dzire posted its highest monthly sales ever at 20,078 units, outselling its sibling Swift in the process. It showed Maruti was gearing up to the challenge.

Dzire's journey this year

It would continue to outsell the Swift in the next two months, over-reaching itself to become the largest selling car in the country. In times to come too, the dice is heavily loaded in Dzire’s favour. Here is why:

  • While the Amaze’s order book is flowing, Honda can only produce a limited number. Beyond 5000-6000 units a month, it simply does not have the capacity. In effect, customers would have to wait a very long time, in excess of 6 months, before they get the car. In these times, it is doubtful if there are many who have that patience.
  • Maruti has perhaps sensed this. Hence the increased spending on marketing and advertisements on the Dzire. Further, it has increased production of the vehicle foregoing some on the Swift to ensure that the waiting period is a bare minimum. Currently, that period stands at less than a month as against 3 months last year. Whereas Honda cannot make enough of the Amaze, Maruti is offering Dzire without making customers wait.
  • The launch of a special Regal edition of the car in tandem with the Amaze launch may have also helped its cause. What this vehicle brings to the table is merely cosmetic – chrome and silver finishing, rear parking sensors and upgraded music system to name a few – but that is enough to sweeten the deal and sway the decision of fence sitters.

The real test of the Dzire though is still lies ahead in the future. As Honda ramps up capacity, Amaze would look to build on its early momentum and in time the fatigue factor will start kicking in with the Dzire. With so many of the cars on the road, it is difficult to stand out. Plus the launch of the Ford EcoSport later this month is also likely to have a partial to significant impact on this segment.

So far though, the car is chugging along quite nicely.

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