The company has lined up a range of SUVs priced up to Rs 20 lakh, said people aware of its plans. Maruti Suzuki, which launched the all new Brezza late last month and made the global debut of midsize SUV Grand
Wednesday, has already received 73,000 bookings for the two cars.
Maruti Suzuki Managing Director Hisashi Takeuchi said the Indian automobile industry was undergoing transformational changes in terms of technology, customer preferences and purchasing power. There has been a growing preference for SUVs the last few years with the segment currently contributing almost 40% to total industry sales. “In every other segment we are the market leader, by far. In SUVs, we are behind. We have some catching up to do. We want to be the number one player in SUVs as quickly as possible,” he said.
At present, South Korean automaker Hyundai is the leader in India’s SUV segment. It recorded sales of about a quarter million SUVs and a market share of 22% in the last fiscal year.
Strong demand for the Tata Punch small SUV has boosted
SUV sales, which are now neck-to-neck on a monthly basis with Hyundai Motor India. Tata Motors sold 205,000 SUVs for a market share of 18% in FY22. Mahindra & Mahindra had a 14% share (excluding the Bolero) in the same period. Maruti Suzuki – with the sole model Brezza – had a share of about 12%.
Takeuchi – who was speaking on the sidelines of the unveiling of Grand Vitara that will go on sale this September – said he expects 50% of the all passenger vehicles sold in the local market to be SUVs in future.
“The All New Brezza, loaded with a host of new technological features, was our offering for the entry-SUV segment customers. With the Grand Vitara, we usher a new era of SUVs in the mid-SUV segment” Takeuchi said. The mid-size SUV segment accounts for almost half the sales in the overall SUV space with sales of 540,000 units in the last financial year. The segment is expected to grow at a CAGR of 10% and double in the next 3 to 4 years.
Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara – among other options will come equipped with strong hybrid technology sourced from Toyota. Takeuchi said the vehicle is an “important” step in the company’s journey towards carbon neutrality. “We are confident, Grand Vitara will accelerate mass electrification and realization of a carbon neutral society in India”, he said, adding Maruti Suzuki plans to bring multiple technologies in its journey to decarbonization like CNG, flex fuel, strong hybrid and EV in the coming years.
While automakers such as Hyundai, Tata Motors and Mahindra are investing in electric vehicles, Japanese manufacturers Suzuki, Toyota and Honda have held in a country where more than 70% of power in generated from coal, charging infrastructure is patchy, hybrids are the best solution to clamp down on emissions immediately and the best available solution to bridge the gap to full electric vehicles.