According to import-export website Zauba.com, a handful units of the Maruti Baleno (Suzuki Baleno outside India) has been shipped to the US, Australia, and New Zealand recently. The shipment indicates that the Suzuki subsidiaries in the aforementioned countries have commenced homologation process, customer clinics, and other pre-launch preparatory works.
It’s to be noted that Suzuki exited the US markets a few years ago. The shipment of LHD models to the country indicates that Suzuki may be exploring the possibilities of a re-entry with the affordable and fuel efficient Baleno as one of the primary products. Or it could just be purely for R&D purposes.
Launch in New Zealand and Australia, both RHD markets, is slated to happen in the third quarter of this year. Maruti Suzuki India Ltd.’s Manesar plant is the sole manufacturing base for the global hatchback which will be exported to over 100 countries. The exported models were powered by the 91 bhp 1.4-litre K14B motor which also powers the Ertiga and Ciaz in India.
The exports commenced in January with Japan being the first market. Strong demands in both domestic and export markets have left Maruti in a capacity crunch. Ever since the hatchback started leaving the country, domestic dispatch witnessed a sharp fall. Since the Manesar unit is runny at near-full capacity, increase the Baleno’s output would invariably affect other models.