With the 2022 Baleno, Maruti is Betting Big on the Premium Hatchback Category.

Maruti Suzuki recently unveiled the highly revamped Baleno, which is priced between Rs 6.35 lakh and Rs 9.49 lakh (ex-showroom, India). Maruti's premium hatchback has long been the sector leader, and the carmaker intends it to maintain that position with the 2022 facelift. Surprisingly, despite the market's shift toward SUVs, Maruti continues to support the hatchback class. Maruti Suzuki India,has maintained its market share for the past several years and  expects this to continue.

Compact SUVs Aren't Eroding Premium Hatchback Sales.

Compact SUV sales have soared in recent years, thanks to rising buyer interest in SUVs and the introduction of a slew of new models. While the category only accounted for 8% of the global car market in fiscal year 2019 (FY2019), it increased to 15% in fiscal year 2020 (FY2020). Compact SUVs accounted for 18% of all automotive sales in India from January to December 2021.

Compact SUVs' market positioning overlaps with luxury hatchbacks due to their small footprint and small capacity petrol and diesel engines. Nonetheless, the latter category has held its own. Just because the SUV segment is growing doesn't mean the rest of the market is shrinking. Despite the "significant surge" in demand for entry SUVs, he continued, premium hatchback market share has remained stable – specifically, at 11-13 percent since FY2019.

Sedans, on the other hand, have faced the brunt of the growing interest in SUVs. "Sedans have fallen from about 23-24 percent of the market last year to less than 9% this year. The Baleno has retained its position as the country's best-selling premium hatchback over the years, with about a 50% market share. With the 2022 update, S