The executive director at Maruti Suzuki, Mr. Shashank Srivastava, has made a bold prediction that the Grand Vitara will shift the compact SUV market towards petrol powered cars just like the Brezza sub-4 meter SUV did when it was recently launched as a petrol-only vehicle.
Here’s what he told ACI on the sidelines of the Grand Vitara’s launch,
Overall sales of the Grand Vitara will swing the entire segment to petrol, just like the Brezza did with compact SUVs.
From Mr. Srivastava’s statement, it’s clear that Maruti Suzuki is playing for volumes, and expects the Grand Vitara to be one of the segment’s best selling cars. Currently, the compact SUV segment in India is dominated by the Hyundai Creta and Kia Seltos, which account for more than 60 % of the segment’s sales. Other SUVs operating in this segment include the Volkswagen Taigun, Skoda Kushaq and the Nissan Kicks. With the arrival of the Maruti Grand Vitara and the Toyota Hyryder – which is a Grand Vitara with different styling and different badges – action in the compact SUV segment has heated up.
The rationale behind Mr. Srivastava’s statement about the compact SUV segment shifting to petrol has to do with the exceptional mileage the Grand Vitara and Toyota Hyryder Strong Hybrids offer. While the claimed fuel efficiency for the strong hybrid variants of both SUVs is about 28 Kmpl, city mileage translates to around 20 Kmpl. That’s not all, both the strong hybrids are full-automatics. So, a petrol-automatic car offering 20 Kmpl in city driving conditions in unprecedented in India, a country that simply loves cars with great fuel efficiency.
Also, a petrol-hybrid car will not be affected by the 10 year diesel ban that’s in place in the National Capital Region – one of the key car markets of India. This is another factor that makes both the Maruti Grand Vitara and Toyota Hyryder Strong Hybrids very strong alternates to diesel powered compact SUVs, whose selling points are punchy performance and great fuel efficiency. While the Grand Vitara and Hyryder Strong Hybrids may not offer the same kind of punch as turbo diesel-engined compact SUVs, they make up with exceptional fuel efficiency and the seamless convenience of CVT automatic gearboxes.
Both the Maruti Grand Vitara and Toyota Hyryder are also offered with 1.5 liter mild hybrid powertrains (102 Bhp-137 NM), which get manual and automatic transmission options. The mild hybrid manual trims offer a best-in-class all wheel drive layout, and could soon become an enthusiast favourite as no other compact SUV sold in India gets a dedicated off road feature such as the all-wheel drive layout. Prices for the Grand Vitara start from Rs. 10.45 lakh and go all the way up to Rs. 19.65 lakh. 2 in 5 bookings that Maruti Suzuki has received for this new SUV is for the strong hybrid variants. The strong hybrid model can also be driven purely on battery power for 25 kilometers, and this is another class leading feature on offer.