Not long ago, India’s largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki presented its Concept Future S vehicle at the Auto Expo 2018 and showcased a new design language for the company. The urban and youthful look made the Maruti Suzuki Concept Future S the showstopper of the show and the company is not just going to let the SUV be just a concept. Sure, there will be huge changes on the production-spec version in terms of the design but expect Maruti Suzuki to come out with an SUV that will sit below the Vitara Breeza, making it the youngest SUV in its existing product line-up. So where does the Zen brand come in the scheme of things here? Well, some of our sources in the know say that expect Maruti Suzuki to revive an old brand with the launch of the new sub-compact SUV.
Maruti Suzuki has already tasted success by reviving the Baleno brand into the premium hatch segment and the model is the highest-selling car from its NEXA channel. A source further confirmed that Maruti Suzuki is working on multiple new products and new-product strategy is a continuous process. The trend might change by FY 2020-21 which is when Maruti is looking to launch this new compact SUV. But there is a possibility for the brand Zen to make a comeback. Maruti Suzuki Zen was a popular car and during its time it was one of the top new cars for first-time buyers. Zen was also a profitable product and a known brand brings in more trust and connects easily with the customer.
Further, a theory also says that Maruti Suzuki might add a new member to its Alto family to further add to the success story of Alto. Maruti Suzuki Alto has been the most sold car in India for decades now and has become a household name as the Maruti 800. Adding a new SUV-ish vehicle to the Alto brand is one of the other possibility. The other possible brand to be revived by the market leader could be the A-Star but probabilities seem low for the same.
Maruti Suzuki Concept Future S has been indigenously designed in India by the company’s R&D team and the choice of going with an SUV design was very obvious. SUVs are posting better than ever growth in India and the change in the customer preferences now demands a unique character on the vehicles even at entry-level. The overall proportion of the Concept Future S fits well for the Indian market as it's compact in size, has a tall stance with modern design and will appeal the new age buyer. The production version of this SUV has a good potential to make a profitable car in the sub-compact space. The company already has experience in the sub-4-meter space with the Vitara Brezza SUV that will help in the development of this new sub-compact SUV.
At the Auto Expo 2018, C V Raman, Senior Executive Director, Engineering and R&D, Maruti Suzuki, had said that it was quite clear to introduce an SUV-styled car in the compact space and more on this (production version) Concept Future S will be based on the feedback about this concept and will initiate planning/production based on the public feedback.
Whether the Maruti Suzuki Zen will make a comeback is a possibility and a logical speculation but it has not been confirmed by the company. In case, Maruti Suzuki decides to revisit one of its old brands the Zen makes a perfect choice of brand to make comeback in this segment. Maruti Suzuki Zen was first launched in India in 1993 and served the company for 16 long years and then made a comeback with a tall boy design as the Zen Estilo that was later discontinued in 2010. Maruti Suzuki Zen (badged as Alto) was also the first car to be exported from India to Europe by the company. Overall, the company has sold over 7.60 lakh units of Zen in India including 1.22 lakh units of exports.
It's not just the Maruti Suzuki Zen that might make a comeback in India. Hyundai’s AH2 codenamed small car might is also likely to make a comeback in India as the new 2018 Hyundai Santro. Iconic Hindustan Ambassador car too has been acquired by the French carmaker PSA Groupe and might see a market introduction soon.
Famous car names that have been revived include the likes of Maruti Suzuki Baleno, Hyundai Xcent (from Accent), Aston Martin Lagonda and many more. With the launch of new cars and SUVs in India, Maruti Suzuki has further gained its market share in India and now with new technologies like Auto Gear Shift (AGS) at its disposal, expect the company to be more aggressive in the Indian market. Also, expect the new version of Maruti Suzuki Zen (or whatever Maruti decides to call Concept Future S) to be compatible with the electric and hybrid powertrain.