India is a land of many pioneering innovations in the automotive segment and Indian automakers have been at the forefront at challenging status quo, especially in terms of how cars are tailored to suit sensibilities of the car buying populace here. Tata Motors spawned the first sub-4 meter sedan and also came up with the best selling Ace mini pick up truck, pioneering segments in the process. The Tata Nano was the world’s least priced car, dramatically putting the country on the global map when it comes to engineering affordable mobility solutions. The next big battleground for automakers in India could be in the Micro SUV segment.
Mahindra is developing a micro SUV code-named the S101. The S101 is expected to take on B-Segment hatchbacks, at a price point that has never been seen before in the SUV world here. The SUV will get newly developed petrol and turbo diesel engines, therefore becoming the first Mahindra SUV in years to offer both petrol and diesel engine options. If the S101 proves to be even moderately successful, it could really alter the landscape of budget cars sold in India. Sensing the huge potential that Micro SUVs hold, the country’s largest automaker Maruti Suzuki has already begun market research to gauge the feasibility of the Micro SUV segment. However, a firm decision on this front is yet to be taken.
SUVs, Micro or Compact, make inherent sense for India as they offer high ground clearance and a high riding position, two features that make a significant difference on crowded, and less than perfect roads here. SUVs also offer imposing street presence, making them more visible on the road, and as a consequence an aspiration for car buyers here. Maruti Suzuki is gung-ho on the SUV segment in India. The automaker will begin its SUV blitz early next year, with the launch of the S-Cross crossover. Maruti Suzuki plans to follow this up in early 2016, with the XA Alpha compact SUV and 2017 will see the recently unveiled 2015 Vitara arriving into India.