Maruti Suzuki has sold 22 lakh units of the Swift in India since the car was launched in mid-2005
Maruti Suzuki has been India's largest car maker several years now. The dominance is so strong that, Hyundai, which has stayed at the second position for an almost similar time, doesn't even manage to sell half the number of cars sold by Maruti Suzuki in the country. The journey that began way back in the 1980s has seen many milestone cars hitting the roads. These include everything from a very affordable and practical Maruti 800 to the extremely popular sub-compact SUV Vitara Brezza. But one name that strikes a big emotional chord with the Indian consumer is the Swift.
The design has seen the kind of evolution that always makes the Swift look a car of the present times.
The 'hot hatch' as it has been known for very long was launched in India for the for the first time in the summer of 2005, barely a few months after its global debut and is now celebrating 15 years of its eventful journey in the country. In this decade and a half, Maruti has been able to successfully sell more than 22 lakh units of the car in the market. The car had come to India in its first generation and became an instant hit because of everything it offered. Affordability came with looks, practicality came with features and drivability came with ergonomics, a potent package that was rarely seen earlier.
In 2005 carandbike interviewed the Maruti team that worked on making the first generation Swift.
It was the first time in the history of Suzuki Motor Company that a group of engineers from Maruti were involved in the complete production of a new car. "It was a new experience because we were doing concurrent engineering and co-design level of work for the first time." said C V Raman, Senior Executive Director (Engg) at Maruti Suzuki India Limited. Raman who was then the leader of a team of 25 Maruti Engineers who spent good amount of time at Suzuki headquarters in Hamamatsu, Japan in building the car added, " A lot of testing was done in India but we used to only test vehicles in the night due to confidentiality. So we used to go early in the morning and late in the night for testing on the roads."
It only helped that the car came from a reputed brand and this made the consumers flock to the Maruti Suzuki showrooms. Fondly looking back at how the Swift has performed in the market, Raman says, "The car has delivered on performance, ride & handling and getting the customer's acceptance in a big way. So from that perspective it has created its own niche in the segment." According to him features like power steering or Air Conditioner got more democratised with the Swift. Before that other cars from Maruti Suzuki got such features only in the higher variants.