C V Raman spills the beans on the making of the all new Swift

C V Raman spills the beans on the making of the all new Swift

A Swift design that’s new but still familiar                                                                             

The visual aspect is very important and that is the strength of the Swift, so that had to be kept. And we did that by continuing the wrap around design and the upright stance but carrying it back to the rear almost till the C-pillar and to the back-glass. And we wanted to have that signature floating-roof more prominent, so attempts were made for that also. And then it had to be more contemporary at the front, so DRL was something which everybody is now putting so that also had to be there.

Dashboard layout and cabin space

From the interior perspective, it had to look a little premium and also from the seat comfort point of view changes have been done on the front seat. Also, the rear seat comfort was important, so angle of the seat was changed and headroom is also improved. We have increased the cabin space, the layout has been changed. Two six-foot people in tandem can sit in front and rear very comfortably and still the boot space has also been increased by almost 28-30 per cent.

Difference between the Indian model and others

In terms of the body-structure, the Indian Swift is same as the European Swift or the Japanese Swift. The European regulations and the Indian Regulations are the same for the offset and side-impact. But NCAP also requires other things such as curtain airbags, ESC, ABS etc., so there are a lot of modifications which are there. So if you just check it for NCAP as per Europe it’s going to be different. But otherwise the body-structure would be the same.

About improvement in fuel efficiency

There are no changes in the engine and the efficiency, because it’s a carryover from the new Dzire. Essentially, the fuel efficiency improvements come from the reduced weight and from the calibration of the engine. Also, from the CD (coefficient of drag) perspective, I think it is more aerodynamic so the road-load is a bit lower. Obviously, the tyres also make it more efficient.

On choosing AMT over CVT

It could have been done, but the volumes for CVT are not really picking up, it’s just about 5-6 percent whereas AGS that we have seen in Ignis as well as Dzire, has done more than 20 per cent. Celerio is almost 40 per cent and we as Maruti Suzuki want to propagate two-pedal technology and we want more customers to experience and have that comfort. AMT is also a more affordable technology and it does not compromise on the fuel-efficiency either. So these are the two things which had come out of our market research that were required to be met.

Softer ride or better handling?

Ride quality is always important in India. We had to optimise the ride and handling setup. In Europe, it would have gone to a little more towards handling and lesser towards ride. But here we have had to kind of optimise the handling and the ride, because we don’t have those kinds of speeds and terrain in India. We have broken roads, speed breakers and different types of road terrain.

Importance of safety features

The Indian customer is maturing now. But this is a different segment. We have a Z+ variant, but traditionally it forms just a 5-6 per cent or 10 per cent at the max of the total sales. And usually the price point where such equipment is given is a little overpriced. We have a lot of brands, and we have a line-up which is to be taken care of. And if I have to do anything like providing six airbags or something like that, it has to start with the higher end models. Yes, definitely there is a requirement for safety features but it is not very strong from the market perspective. Because today, what I understand as far as the customer is concerned, the concept of safety is not there, and people need to be educated on that front.

Development of Dzire and Swift

The new Swift has been under development for almost four years. It was designed for the global market and the Indian team of engineers was involved only for the Indian market which includes powertrain calibration and suspension tuning. Globally, we started working on the Swift first and then later we started working on the Dzire, but we opted to launch the Dzire before the Swift in India.

Will the Swift impact Baleno sales?

Having too many brands and having them in one showroom is always a challenge. Now with the Nexa coming in and four modules being promoted through that, customers have a different kind of experience there and now we are also upgrading and going to the Arena concept. So the people who are going into these two showrooms there is a little distinction which has started to come-in, there is a progression of models in Arena and then there is a progression of models in Nexa.

Read the first drive review of the new Swift here.

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