The technical specifications and variant details of the Maruti Suzuki S-Cross are out, and we’ll soon fill you in with our driving impressions. The crossover from Maruti Suzuki, which looks more like a large hatchback, forget SUV, will be launched later this month. No petrol, says the company.
Will swimming against the current work for India’s largest automaker, which is trying hard to make a mark in the premium segments? Now that we have plenty more information about the Maruti Suzuki S-Cross, we’ll take a relook on whether the S-Cross could be Maruti Suzuki’s first flop in 3 years.
Well, from initial impressions that have been coming out after the first drive of the car, the S-Cross is more of a hatchback than an SUV. Its 180 mm ground clearance means that it isn’t even a match for the Hyundai i20 Active or the Fiat Avventura, both dolled-up hatchbacks with butch styling and higher ground clearance. So, the buyer of the S-Cross won’t buy it for its SUV/crossover credentials.
Now, what’s the S-Cross’ USP?
We’re still in the same boat as we did last time. The S-Cross can’t really call itself a crossover or an SUV. Or can it call itself a B+ segment hatchback that wows buyers with its looks and quality. What it can do is, it can go fast and handle reasonably well. So, the S-Cross will give the buyer a Suzuki badge on the bonnet, plenty of power under the hood and the best quality interiors that Maruti Suzuki has ever put on a mass market car sold here. (The Kizashi and Grand Vitara don’t qualify don’t quality as mass-market). And will this be enough to be a hit? Nope. The S-Cross will need more, and we’ll come to that in just a bit.
Couldn’t Maruti Suzuki have added an all wheel drive?
They’ve increased ground clearance to 180 mm in the Maruti Suzuki S-Cross, a bump up from 170 mm on the UK-spec model. But that’s to keep the bottom from scraping, not for soft roading seems to be the general impression. The S-Cross sold here is purely a road going, large hatchback. It’s a shame really for the all wheel drive kit is said to have made the S-Cross a very good soft roader, going by what the international press has to say about the car’s prowess off tarmac. End of the day, as a car, it is a powerful, spacious hatchback with good interiors.
Will pricing save the S-Cross?
Price it at Ciaz levels, and stun the buyer. The Indian car buyer now has tasted style, features and refinement in addition to reliability and affordability, in other brands as well. If Maruti gets pricing right, lots of Indian buyers may consider the S-Cross.
Maruti’s dealer network could do the job
With 1000 dealerships across the length and breadth of India, in nearly 700 cities, sheer accessibility to a HUGE number of car buyers has been Maruti Suzuki’s traditional strengths. The automaker is known to hard-sell its cars to dealers.
For example, here’s how a dealer target could look like. Maruti could tell the dealer that if he sells XX units of the S-Cross, he can pick up YY units of the Swift and ZZ units of the Dzire at a discounted price. Now the dealer has an incentive to sell the S-Cross. So, he gives a target to the salesmen, who try extra-hard to convince the buyers who visit the showroom to buy the S-Cross. This is a strategy that could be used to push the S-Cross very hard, and even if each Maruti Suzuki dealer sells just 2 units every month, we’re looking at 2,000 units easily. If each dealer sells 4, you get 4000 sales. This, Maruti could be very happy with.