No sportier Maruti Swift RS or Sport for India

Third-gen Suzuki Swift Sport used for representation only.

Maruti has launched the fourth-gen Swift in India, and while we expect a CNG variant to join the line-up in the coming months, chances of performance-oriented versions of the popular hatchback are bleak. Speaking to Autocar India, Maruti Suzuki sales and marketing head Partho Banerjee confirmed that there won’t be a Swift Sport or a Swift RS on sale in India.

  1. Isn't viable to introduce low volume, sporty models
  2. Swift's popularity doesn't warrant a brand shaper

Suzuki Swift Sport, Swift RS: what are they?

In markets abroad, the Suzuki Swift has nearly always had a go-faster variant. The third-gen Swift Sport came with a 140hp, 1.4-litre turbo-petrol engine with 48V mild-hybrid tech, along with a number of cosmetic and a few mechanical changes to suit the sportier aspirations. In fact, the previous-gen Swift Sport was spied in India, but it was brought here for testing by a component maker and not by the brand. In select markets like New Zealand, the outgoing hatchback is also offered with the same 1.0-litre three-cylinder Boosterjet turbo-petrol engine seen in the India-spec Fronx – it’s called the Swift RS there.

Suzuki Swift RS: Potential for Maruti to make it in India

Considering Maruti Suzuki has already localised the 100hp, 1.0-litre Boosterjet turbo-petrol engine for the Fronx, it makes sense for the company to plonk this unit into the Swift’s bonnet. However, when asked about the viability of this, Banarjee replied with, “The Swift is [already] very sporty. When you experience it, I don’t think you’ll ask for a turbo.”

Thus ruling out the possibility of introducing an RS variant. In 2017 Maruti had introduced a turbo-petrol version of its premium hatchback, called the Baleno RS. However, its lukewarm market response could perhaps have left a bad taste, and the company is unlikely to be as adventurous with its offerings.

There are other challenges for the introduction of the Swift RS as well, which are detailed below.

Suzuki Swift RS
The third-gen Swift RS with the Boosterjet engine.

Suzuki Swift Sport: As an import?

Coming to the even sportier Swift Sport, there are additional complications. First off, a go-faster version of the fourth-gen Swift has not been introduced in any market yet, and there’s no word on when a Sport variant will arrive for this new model. In the UK and Japan, the new Swift only comes with the new 1.2-litre Z12E engine, albeit aided by mild-hybrid tech.  

However, if there is a Swift Sport for the fourth-gen model in international markets, then Maruti Suzuki could employ the Indian government’s policy that allows the import of up to 2,500 units, without the need for homologation.

Suzuki Swift Sport, Swift RS: why they doesn’t make sense for India

Nonetheless, it seems like the company is choosing not to go with either of these avenues to introduce a sportier Swift in India. When queried about the possibility of the go-faster Swift, Banerjee responded in the negative, saying, “I think the Swift is a well-established brand and known for its sporty stance. So I don’t feel that today, the Swift has any sort of challenge in establishing itself as a sporty car. Generally, the people [who buy the Swift] love it for the Swift DNA – that is vibrancy, youthfulness and a sporty feeling.”

It may not make financial sense for the brand to invest into a sportier Swift, whether it is the RS or the Sport. If Maruti plans to introduce the Swift RS, there would be significant homologation and certification costs that the brand will incur. Even if the CBU route is used, which would help keep production and R&D costs in check, the various costs associated with introducing a new model – from marketing and advertising to dealer training (to gain the necessary technical expertise) – will not be off-set by the incremental sales a more expensive Swift will bring, especially in a cost-sensitive market like India.

Our new Maruti Swift review is scheduled to go live tomorrow at 11am, so stay tuned to know if the fourth-gen hatchback is as sporty as the company says.

Also see:

Maruti Suzuki Swift: new vs old

New Maruti Swift price, variants, features explained

New Maruti Swift vs rivals: fuel efficiency compared

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