Maruti Suzuki India on Wednesday unveiled its new model ‘Grand Vitara’ as it looks to expand presence in the fast growing mid-sized SUV segment.
The model, which comes with a 1.5 litre petrol powertrain mated with strong and mild hybrid technology, would compete with the likes of Hyundai Creta, Kia Seltos and Tata Harrier, among others.
With the Grand Vitara, Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) is looking to expand its presence in the mid-sized SUV segment, where it currently lags the competition.
The production of the model would begin in August and actual sales would start in September. Speaking at the model unveil, MSI MD and CEO Hishashi Takeuchi said the Indian automobile industry is undergoing transformational changes in terms of technology, customer preferences and purchasing power.
“In the last few years, we have seen a growing preference for SUVs. The segment contributes to almost 40 per cent of the total industry sales. Within this, mid-sized SUV segment contributes around 50 per cent,” he added.
This segment size is estimated to double in next 3-4 years, Takeuchi stated. Since inception, MSI has been working to provide mobility across all segments and from time to time, the company has introduced new and feature-rich products to match the ever-evolving needs of aspiring customers, he noted.
“In fact, choices of our customers have led to genesis of new segments. We aim to continue this journey to provide the joy of mobility to as many people as possible,” Takeuchi noted.
The company aims to strengthen its presence in the SUV segment and the all-new Brezza was the company’s offering in the entry-SUV segment customers, he said.
“Today, with the Grand Vitara, we usher a new era of SUVs in the mid-SUV segment. Grand Vitara will be our latest offering in NEXA (sales network),” Takeuchi said.
He claimed that the strong hybrid trims come with a fuel efficiency of 27.97 km per litre, making it India’s most fuel-efficient SUV.
In addition to catering to domestic markets, the company will also be exporting Grand Vitara to many international markets, Takeuchi noted.
It is interesting to note that the model is not just one model, but a range of SUV variants to match customers’ style and requirement, he added.
Takeuchi noted that the new model is an important step in the company’s journey towards carbon neutrality. “Strong-hybrid technology debuts with this model.We are confident, Grand Vitara will accelerate mass electrification and realisation of a carbon neutral society in India,” he said.
The auto major aims to bring multiple technologies in its journey to decarbonisation like CNG, flex fuel, strong hybrid and EV, Takeuchi stated.
Elaborating further, he noted that the Grand Vitara comes equipped with several new technological features. In a first for the company vehicles, the model gets the 1.5 litre Intelligent Electric Hybrid with e-CVT, enabling the self-charging hybrid electric vehicle to offer superior acceleration and performance, he added.
Besides, the model gets Suzuki’s patented All Grip technology enabling it to take on all kind of terrains, Takeuchi stated.
Other features include panoramic sunroof, head-up display, 360 view camera, various active and passive safety equipment, wireless charger to name a few, he added.
“The Indian automobile market is a very promising market and I am very optimistic about it,” Takeuchi stated.
The company will sell the model through around 420 NEXA dealerships across the country.
MSI Senior Executive Director (Marketing and Sales) Shashank Srivastava said there is a shift happening towards bigger cars in the domestic market.
“The SUVs and multi purpose vehicle (MPVs) now contribute around 49 per cent to overall passenger vehicle sales,” he noted.
The industry remains at a bit of standstill but the mid-sized suv segment has grown by 45 per cent in the last three years, Srivastava said. The mid SUV segment stood at 5.4 lakh units last fiscal and now accounts for 18 per cent for the entire passenger vehicle segment, he noted.
“It is expected to grow by a CAGR of 10 per cent going ahead,” Srivastava said. The company also unveiled NEXAVERSE allowing customers to experience and book the model online. The strong hybrid trims of Grand Vitara would return a fuel efficiency of 27.97 km per litre while the mild hybrid variants would offer 21.11 km per litre.
MSI had S-Cross in the mid SUV segment but as it could not muster enough volumes, the automaker has now decided to discontinue it from the marketplace. The Grand Vitara would be produced at Toyota Kirloskar Motor’s Karnataka-based plant as per the global collaboration pact inked between Toyota and Suzuki. TKM has already unveiled ‘Hyryder’ which has a similar set of powertrains.