Aimed at strengthening its position in the compact car segment, country's largest car maker Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) on Thursday launched 'Celerio', priced between Rs 3.9 lakh and Rs 4.96 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi).
"Given the congestion on Indian roads, the demand for auto mode is no brainer. Presently, cars with automatic transmission are less than 5 per cent," MSI MD and CEO Kenichi Ayukawa said.
The manual transmission models (four) are priced between Rs 3.9 lakh and Rs 4.96 lakh, while the auto gear shift variants (two) are priced at Rs 4.29 lakh and Rs 4.59 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi).
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Celerio Auto Gear Shift variants will have the flexibility of both manual mode and auto drive mode in the same car, with a simple shift of gear lever.
"Celerio will cater to a growing demand for vehicles with automatic gear shift at an affordable price," he said.
With the new compact car, MSI has worked on addressing three key issues associated with automatic transmission cars -- high cost of acquisition, low fuel economy and maintenance hassles.
According to the company, about 25 per cent of consumers who come to its showrooms enquire about cars with automatic transmission but the conversion rate was very poor once they found those issues related with such vehicles.
Currently, an automatic transmission (AT) version of a car in the market is more expensive by up to Rs. 1.1 lakh than its manual transmission version.
MSI has already started taking bookings for the car.
In the past, the company has launched AT version of its compact cars, including the Zen and A-Star, but their prohibitive prices made it difficult to crack the market.
The Celerio will be pitched against the likes of Hyundai's Grandi10 and Honda's Brio, whose automatic versions are priced at Rs 6.04 lakh and Rs 6.19 lakh, respectively (ex-showroom, Delhi).
The Celerio will offer a fuel efficiency of 23.1 km per litre.
The car comes with features like alloy-wheels and blue-tooth connectivity across variants. Celerio which sports 1 litre K-next engine, would be available in seven colours.
MSI's current compact car portfolio comprises Swift, Estilo and Ritz.