Maruti Suzuki India Ltd is planning to advance the introduction of its new-generation Swift Dzire sedan by almost a year as it seeks to protect its turf in the face of competition, said two people familiar with the company’s plans. As against the earlier plan of launching the new-generation Dzire in fiscal 2018-19, Maruti now plans to introduce the car in 2017-18, the year it is scheduled to launch the new-generation Swift, said an executive at an auto component firm, which got a request for quotation from Maruti last week
The Dzire, based on the Swift platform, is the second-largest selling car model in India after the Alto. The new Dzire will roll out from the facility of Suzuki Motor Corp. in Gujarat, which is expected to be operational during fiscal 2016-17.

The company is also planning to launch a Dzire Tour model, aimed at taxi operators, with a petrol engine. Maruti currently has only the diesel version of the Dzire Tour running in the cab market. The petrol model can be retrofitted with a CNG kit to meet the new norms in Delhi.

A Supreme Court directive which mandates that all cars falling in the commercial segment in Delhi to convert into CNG (compressed natural gas) by 31 March has prompted the move, said one of the two people cited above, requesting anonymity.

A Maruti spokesperson declined to comment. Maruti, which launched the Dzire in 2010, introduced a new version of the model earlier this year. The company plans to introduce a variant with an automatic gear shift next month.

In September, Mint reported Maruti’s plans to revamp its line of popular models that includes the Swift, Dzire and Ertiga as part of a plan to double its annual sales to 2 million units by 2020. The three models will carry a new design with improved engine specifications and full-body changes.

The first car based on the new platform will be a revamped Swift and it will be introduced by 2018, Mint reported.