AUTO INDUSTRY NEWS

How Suzuki PH plans to rule the entry-level car market

How Suzuki PH plans to rule the entry-level car market image

Anton Andres / Anton Andres | June 14, 2018 09:30

Why is Suzuki offering two B-segment sedans in the country?

When the Suzuki Ciaz came out two years we ago, we dubbed it as a more serious entry into the local B-segment market. Granted, its size was closer to C-segment sedans but that meant heaps of space inside, making it a viable alternative for those who can't quite stretch their budget for a larger car. By the looks of things, the Ciaz has been a hit with consumers.

However, that did mean the Swift Dzire eventually trailed off into retirement, exiting with a whimper in the country. This year however, the small sedan is back, ditching the Swift nomenclature and is simply called the Dzire. It then begs the question: Why does Suzuki have two B-segment sedans offered in the Philippines? Given that the sales of the Ciaz rallied ahead of the Dzire when it was launched, why take that gamble?

Suzuki Dzire

Suzuki Philippines' assistant general manager Cecil Capacete answered that query. “The whole industry sees 40 percent for passenger cars and for passenger cars, B-segment cars make up 68 percent. Sedans then make up 80 percent of the B-segment,” said Capacete. Basically, if you want to make sales, you make your mark in that part of the market. This is where the Dzire comes in.

“There are big numbers in that segment,” adds Capacete. So, why two models in the same segment? It was as simple as capturing both price points of the volume-selling segment. Basically, the Ciaz will compete with the higher-end of the B-segment, gunning for the likes of the Toyota Vios and Honda City, among others. An entry-level Ciaz starts at Php 795,000, slightly undercutting its primary competition.

The Dzire on the other hand is pitched towards the lower (read, more affordable) half of of the B-segment sedan crowd. With that, it's set to go head to head with the Mitsubishi Mirage G4, Honda Brio Amaze, and the recently launched Volkswagen Santana. With a base price of Php 638,000, it's within the ballpark of the cars mentioned. With this strategy, Suzuki says they have that segment all covered with a variety of models.

Suzuki Dzire

With that, the Ciaz gets a slightly more upmarket approach for its marketing while the Dzire targets the first-time buyer or budget conscious individual. Suzuki adds that, with the Automated Gear Shift, their clutchless electronic manual transmission, running costs will be low since parts are, essentially, from a manual transmission.

With the B-segment being the meat of the Philippine market, Suzuki Philippines wants a bigger chunk of those sales. They believe that by offering two sedans in the same segment, but with different price points, is their ticket to higher sales figures. As it stands, Suzuki already has quite the range for those shopping for a small car. There will be all-new Swift that is set to join the local lineup sometime this year. There's also the Vitara, which as seen a positive reception in local motoring media.

If you include the yet to be launched all-new Swift (coming soon, says the company), Suzuki Philippines has a total of five B-segment models which includes the Ertiga, Dzire, Ciaz and Vitara.

With a lineup like that, it looks like Suzuki wants to be the country's one-stop shop for small vehicles.