Maruti to enter SUV space, concept will be unveiled in Auto Expo 2012

Maruti Suzuki, the name associated with  small cars in India is all set to enter  Sports Utility Vehicle(SUV) segment. Company will display a concept of  an all new  SUV during New Delhi Auto Expo scheduled to begin  in January 2012. Currently company is in the process of  finishing feasibility study of the product and a  production version the model will ready  by 2014. This all new SUV will be developed in India and company may utilize product development skills of it’s Japanese colleagues. But we are not sure about where Maruti will position this new SUV.

grand vitara photo Maruti to enter  SUV space, concept will be unveiled in Auto Expo 2012

“The segment has grown significantly in the past few years and we want to have a presence there,” an  executive said to  Livemint. “It will take at least two years for the model to be production-ready. The details regarding engine and other specifications will be worked out soon,” added another executive who is aware of the developments.

Maruti Suzuki is all set to unveil their new MPV Ertiga in coming months. Maruti Ertiga is the production version of the RIII concept shown in 2010 New Delhi Auto Expo.

The SUV’s segment accounts for 7-8% of India’s 2.5 Million car market  and is expected to double in coming 10 years. The segment has been witnessing growth and players are very less compared to hatchbacks and sedan segment. In the last 2-3 years we saw 20+ new car launches in India. The competition is continuing their launch spree and managed to challenge  Maruti Suzuki’s dominance in small car segment. So it’s a  obvious decision for Maruti to hunt for such not so overcrowded space for maintaining their market share.

But to fulfill the SUV dream, Maruti has many obstacles to overcome. First and the foremost is the absence of a  diesel engine. Maruti’s hot selling diesel cars are powered by  Fiat Multi Jet diesel motors. In international market  Suzuki is currently using  Fiat’s 2.0ltr oil burner to power up their SX4 hatchback. So the same engine can be considered for the new SUV as well. An alternative option is to source diesel technologies from their erstwhile partner VW AG. Another task is to get a right suspension set up and it is completely different from passenger cars. Suspension characteristics could be a deal maker in this segment. But Maruti  has been in India for a quite long time now and understands Indian auto market better than any other car manufacturer.

We hope company will be able to leverage their capabilities and bring a value for money SUV in coming  years. Stay tuned to Wheelosphere for more updates.

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