There has been a lot of hype building around the two-door compact SUV Jimny and the hot hatch Swift Sport. Speculations were rife that Maruti Suzuki is planning to bring both or at least one of them to our shores. Well, it turns out that the company has left speculators speculating and is not going to bring any of those uber cool cars to the country. This was confirmed by CV Raman, R&D Chief at Maruti Suzuki, to ZigWheels during the recent Ciaz launch.
That the Jimny and Swift Sport will not be coming here might come as a definitive blow to many enthusiasts and potential buyers, but the reason for it is quite clear. Maruti has always been known for playing it safe regarding new model launches and positioning. The automaker feels that there is no big market in India for a two-door compact off-roading vehicle. The vehicles belong to a niche segment, and while many may show interest, few buy one for themselves.
A look at the sales figures of the Mahindra Thar and the Force Gurkha confirms this fact, though bitter it might be. The company also emphasised that it’s quite unlikely that anyone would pick the Jimny as their primary car. It would remain more of a recreational vehicle. With the Swift Sport too, Maruti has had a similar story to tell. While having already learnt its lesson the hard way by launching a hardcore version of S-Cross (1.6) and experiencing failure with it, the company is treading rather cautiously.
The Swift Sport, if launched anyway, would be too expensive – on the higher side of Rs. 10 lakh – and be seen as a niche product. Cars like the VW Polo GT, Fiat Punto Abarth and Baleno RS have rather sluggish sales. This points towards the fact that these vehicles are still limited to auto enthusiasts. The regular car buyer may show some interest but not always with the intention of driving one home. The average customer still wants a good, economical family car in the end. With this, both the Jimny and Swift Sport are now unlikely for India!