Indian auto enthusiasts must be thankful to Premier Automobiles Ltd for creating a new market segment with the launch of their mini SUV Rio. The launch of Premier RiO created created unforeseen interest towards this segment (min-SUV) among others automobile manufacturers. Mahindra was the first to announce a similar product, a chopped of Xylo, which is scheduled for next year launch (speculated) and now country’s largest car manufacturing company wants to join the party. According to Hindu Businessline, Maruti Suzuki is considering ‘Suzuki Jimny’ — a two-door SUV sold in Japan for Indian market. Suzuki Jimny is powered by a petrol engine in it’s home country, Japan but Maruti will opt for a diesel-powered four-door version for Indian market.
“We’re looking at how to strengthen our portfolio and are identifying new gaps. We’re actively looking at the small SUV space … this will have to be a four-door diesel model, as a petrol two-door SUV will not click with the Indian consumer. We’re working on an almost new concept for this,” said a senior company official.
Maruti Suzuki will be launching seven new models in two year’s time. Suzuki Jimny and R/// concept will be filling the gap in Maruti Suzuki’s portfolio which is currently dominated by small cars. Maruti Suzuki India’s SUV offerings, Grand Vitara and Gypsy are continuing their dismal performance in the segment. But Indian SUV market grown by seventy percent in this year (2010) and is ruled by diesel motor powered Mahindra Scorpio, Tata Safari, Toyota Innova and Ford Endeavour. The growth of SUV segment may continue for coming years as well. So naturally Maruti can not stay away from this market for long time. Suzuki may source diesel engines for their upcoming models from VW.
In the year 2010, in every month Maruti Suzuki managed to clock double digit growth in sales. But it is a known fact that Maruti is loosing their market share dominance to other players like Ford, Chevrolet and Hyundai. So it could be a strategic decision for Maruti to test success in untapped market segment like small SUVs and MPVs. Rather it would be essential for them to enter these untouched areas to maintain their leadership in our country.