If you look at the competition in the compact sedan and sub-compact SUV segments where the demand and feasibility of a sunroof begins, the Hyundai Verna, Venue, Ford Ecosport, Mahindra XUV300, Honda City, WR-V, all have one thing in common (among many others of course). All of them come with a factory-fitted electric sunroof. However, one manufacturer that does not offer them in any of their models throughout their range is Maruti Suzuki. The Ciaz, S-Cross, XL6, Vitara Brezza, all from their premium and top of the range models do not get a sunroof, despite the competition having offered them in their cars.
Speaking to CV Raman, senior executive director, Engineering, MSIL we learnt that one of the main reasons why Maruti does not offer a sunroof is that India is country where ambient temperatures go up to 50-degrees. A sunroof works better in regions with colder temperatures where one needs to allow more sunlight in, to warm up the cabin. In a country like India, with its hot climate, a sunroof does not offer much benefit to the end-user and most people in India would not use it every day. CV Raman also said that in India, the sunroof would put added pressure on the air-conditioning as well.
Another reason why the manufacturer does provide this feature is that it does not wish for kids sticking their heads out of sunroof as it is a health hazard. One other reason for the sunroof to be missing from Maruti Suzuki’s offering is that it adds to the servicing cost of the vehicle with the gutters and rubber sealing having to be cleaned and checked on a regular basis during service intervals.
CV Raman mentioned that their internal clinics have suggested that only a small number of around 4-5% of their customers really want a sunroof. However, he did confirm that if a sunroof is the sole factor to sell a product, the manufacturer may offer it in the future. So, we cannot rule out a new Maruti product in the future with a sunroof. At least an optional one!