Maruti Suzuki remains committed to hatchbacks

CV Raman, Chief Technical Officer (Engineering), Maruti Suzuki, speaks to Arup Das about the new Brezza, the compact SUV segment, safety and much more.

Maruti Suzuki remains committed to hatchbacks

Maruti Suzuki has been the leader in the compact SUV segment, but with a lot of new players in the market, what edge does the Brezza have over the others? 

Even though the compact SUV segment was present before we entered, Brezza increased the volumes in this class when it was launched in 2016. It is known for its design, performance and features. The Brezza was also the first vehicle in the segment to comply with side-impact and offset crash tests, which was one of the new regulations that came in. Now the requirements of the customers are changing as they are looking for aspirational features, digital connectivity along with comfort, safety and design which the new Brezza is all about. 

The Brezza continues to be based on the Global C-Platform with additional structural updates. Could you tell us about these updates?

The Breeza’s wheelbase remains the same though the height has increased a bit and due to the increase in equipment level, the weight has marginally increased. 

Safety is paramount for all manufacturers and with various safety ratings, this has created some confusion, especially in a buyer’s mind. Could you explain the parameters of a car being safe for Indian conditions?

There are various perspectives that have to be looked into in the safety sphere. First thing is that all vehicles should have the required active and passive safety features. Not from just the regulator’s perspective, but go beyond that. 

Education to the customer is very important, which we believe is being missed by many. So changing mindsets is one big challenge. We all forget that features like airbags are secondary restraint systems, the primary one is the seat belt. 

The third is traffic management and road safety and Maruti Suzuki believes the onus lies on the manufacturer. Traffic management and enforcement also play an essential role like we set up speed cameras in Delhi and automatic challans.  

Many manufacturers have introduced advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) packages. Can we see this being introduce In Maruti Suzuki cars soon?

There are many features available like lane-keep assist and autonomous emergency braking, to mention a few, but most of them are inhibited as it doesn’t work in India. I think enough testing has not been done in India in order to understand it. For example, autonomous vehicles for both pedestrians and two-wheelers are inhibited while it is applicable for cars. Our traffic is very different and any regulation for other countries shouldn’t be planted here. 

Maruti Suzuki has announced that it will be focused on various SUV segments. Will the spotlight shift away from hatchbacks to SUVs?

I think India has many requirements when you look at the market from the rural, urban, affordable and aspirational perspectives. We will continue to serve our full line-up and participate where volumes are growing. As of today, the SUV segment is growing and we will participate in it, but when you look at the hatchback segment we have quite a large share and will focus on dominating that market.

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