With the launch of the Grand Vitara next week, Maruti Suzuki is looking to raise its share in the SUV (sport utility vehicle) segment from just 13.5% at present. Although, it has close to a 20% share in the entry-level SUV space, it has not done well in the mid-size SUV space, with a share of only about 4%.
As Maruti already has an entry-level SUV in the Brezza, it is now hoping to up its game in the mid-size SUV space.
Shashank Srivastava, senior executive director, marketing and sales, Maruti Suzuki India, told FE, “One of the good things about the Grand Vitara is the hybrid system which helps deliver better fuel efficiency. The vehicle will have a choice of mild hybrid and strong hybrid powertrains.
“By the choice of variants we will be offering, you will find that this product is for every type of SUV customer, be it for city drive or off-roading or someone looking for performance,” he said.
From 26% in FY20, the market share of the SUV segment rose to 40% in FY22, with entry-level SUVs making up 22%, mid-size SUVs 17% and premium 1%. Maruti’s share in other segments is high; it commands 70% of the hatchback space, 47% of the sedan segment, 60% in MPVs (multi-purpose vehicle) and 98% in vans.
The new mid-size SUV has been developed as part of the global alliance between Japanese auto majors Toyota Motor and Suzuki Motor. While Maruti will sell it as Grand Vitara from its premium Nexa dealership network, Toyota Kirloskar Motor has christened it Urban Cruiser Hyryder.
Maruti has tested the mid-size SUV waters before with S-Cross, a model that did not meet the company’s expectations and was recently discontinued. In the last seven years, S-Cross sold merely 165,000 units, at an average of about 2,000 units per month.
Maruti will target all the mid-size SUV customers with Grand Vitara, Srivastava said, adding that they can be from urban areas or semi-urban areas.
However, the industry experts FE spoke to said the going will not be easy for Maruti in this segment, which is already crowded with models like Hyundai Creta, Kia Seltos, Skoda Kushaq, Volkswagen Taigun, MG Astor and Renault Duster.
The segment is currently dominated by the South Korean duo of Creta and Seltos. In FY22, Hyundai sold 118,092 units of Creta, while the volumes for Seltos were 95,929 units.