Maruti Suzuki – India’s largest car maker – seeks to make major inroads into the SUV segment, which is growing much faster than other car segments in India. Maruti Suzuki has launched the all-new Brezza, and in days from now, will unveil another all-new SUV in the form of the Grand Vitara. The Grand Vitara, which will be unveiled on the 20th July, will be followed by many other SUVs. Maruti Suzuki plans to have a presence in all SUV segments, and this information comes straight from Mr. Shashank Srivastava, a senior executive director at the automaker.
Image courtesy ACI
Speaking to TOI, here’s what he said,
While Vitara Brezza, now relaunched as Brezza, has a 20% market share in the extremely competitive compact SUV segment, we did not have an offering in the fast growing mid-SUV segment. The introduction of Grand Vitara will plug that gap in our portfolio. Going forward we will launch SUVs in other sub-segments like lifestyle SUV. We have a non-SUV market share of 67%, which is pretty good. But in SUVs that make up 40% of the market share and are growing, we just have a 14% market share. We’ll consolidate the non-SUV share and grow the SUV pie with launch of new products.
It’s not just Maruti Suzuki that’s focusing on SUVs in India. India’s second largest car maker Hyundai is also planning a SUV blitz, and is scaling back of entry-level offerings. Recently, Hyundai discontinued the Santro hatchback, an iconic brand that it brought back only a few years ago. Maruti Suzuki, for its part, believes that one in two cars sold in India will be a SUV in the next five years, and the change in strategy is to reflect this new reality.
Coming to the upcoming SUVs lined up for India by Maruti Suzuki, this festive season is going to see the launch of the Grand Vitara, a nameplate that’s making a comeback after more than 5 years. In its latest avatar, the Maruti Grand Vitara will be a badge-engineered offering that will share its platform and most parts with the Toyota Hyryder but will have distinct styling. Enthusiasts will be happy to hear that the Grand Vitara will be offered with an all wheel drive layout, doing full justice to the off-road cred that the Grand Vitara brand has always been known for. The petrol mild hybrid and strong hybrid engines will power the new Grand Vitara.
After the Grand Vitara, the Jimny will be launched. The launch of the Jimny is expected to happen early next year. What remains to be seen is whether Maruti opts for a long wheelbase, 5 door version of the Jimny for the Indian market. Notably, the longer wheelbase Jimny has been spotted testing recently, and if this version is brought to India, it’ll be a lot more practical than the erstwhile Gypsy, which was a three door offering.