In a dealers conference at Macau, Maruti Suzuki has confirmed that it would launch no less than 4 new cars this year even as the automaker battles a sales slowdown that has hit the entire car industry in India. Maruti has already launched the all-new WagonR earlier this year, which has been the car maker’s biggest launch so far. The Ciaz and Ertiga also received brand new turbo diesel engines over the past few weeks. The Alto and Eeco got additional safety features and the former got a mild facelift as well. In the coming months, Maruti will hit the launch button in a big way. Of the four cars that Maruti has planned to launch this year, three will be based on existing models, and one will be an all-new model that was first shown to India at the 2018 Indian Auto Expo.
The car in question is the Future S – a vehicle that will be a crossover meant to sit in between hatchbacks and compact SUVs. The Future S will be a petrol-only offering, and Maruti could even offer a mild hybrid on it. While it’s touted to replace the Alto, it’s unlikely to do so. We expect Maruti to sell it as a micro SUV, positioning it between the likes of the WagonR and Swift. The production version of the Future S is expected to arrive during this year’s festive season. The car is expected to be Bharat Stage 6 emission norms ready, and also compliant with Bharat New Vehicle Safety Assessment Program (BNVSAP) safety norms. With volumes sagging, Maruti needs a blockbuster launch this year, and the Future S is expected to be just that.
Another car said to be in the works is a 7 seat version of the Maruti WagonR. This car is expected to be sold through the NEXA chain of dealerships rather than the Arena dealerships from where the regular WagonR is sold. The three row version of the WagonR is likely to have a 5+2 seating layout, and will rival the upcoming Renault Triber compact MPV. It will measure under 4 meters in length, and is expected to squeeze in the additional row of seats in the car’s existing body. The 1.2 liter K-Series petrol engine is likely to power this version of the WagonR. What remains to be seen is whether Maruti will offer both manual and AMT options on its latest 7 seater.
The other two cars from Maruti are the petrol hybrid version of the Vitara Brezza compact SUV and a 6 seat, luxury version of the new Ertiga MPV. Called the Ertiga Sport, the latest iteration of the MPV will be a top-of-the-line model. It’ll be sold through NEXA dealerships. The petrol-hybrid version of the Vitara Brezza will use the 1.5 liter K-Series petrol engine with 104 Bhp-138 Nm, and the Suzuki Hybrid Vehicle System (SHVS) mild hybrid unit. Long awaited, the petrol version of the Brezza is meant to blunt the attack from competitors’ SUVs, all of which offer petrol engine options. So far, the Brezza has been a diesel-only compact SUV.