Maruti Suzuki has been one of the revolutionary auto companies in the Indian automobile industry and has been ruling the roost with its plethora of small vehicles. However, India’s largest automaker is now planning to make it big in premium segments above the Swift hatchback and has planned several new launches that will hit the market in the coming months. As per Maruti’s new plans for the future, the company’s 4 out of 6 new launches will include cars in the premium segment and will be priced in the Rs. 6-14 lakh range.
While entry-level and compact cars continue to be Maruti Suzuki’s forte, the company is now planning to strengthen its presence in bigger segments. In the next two years, the automaker will launch the Ciaz sedan priced between Rs. 7-12 lakhs that will be replacing the SX4 in the C-segment sedan space and will be competing against the Honda City, Hyundai Verna, Volkswagen Vento and the likes. Maruti will then launch the S-Cross crossover next year that was showcased at the 2014 Auto Expo.
Rivaling the Mahindra Scorpio, Nissan Terrano and the Renault Duster in the compact SUV segment, the S-Cross is expected to be priced between Rs. 8-12 lakhs and will be an alternative for compact SUV buyers. Also part of the new launches is the compact SUV based on the XA-Alpha concept, while a premium hatchback positioned above the Swift (codenamed YRA) will be launched in late 2015 that will rival the Hyundai i20 and the Honda Jazz in the segment. The new products however won’t be as ambitious as Maruti’s older big cars that were a disaster in the market.
The Kizashi and Grand Vitara stand testimony to Maruti’s failure, while the SX4 despite a good start could not impress the consumers who simply had better alternatives in the segment. Maruti states that the move to enter bigger car segments comes at the right time as the existing compact car customers will be given a wide range of products to upgrade to (and claim their loyalty bonus). The Kizashi and Grand Vitara were priced in the Rs. 16-25 lakh range, which was a huge jump for most existing Maruti customers.
The past financial year was profitable for the company after three years of a downward trend in the auto sector. Maruti Suzuki commanded 50 percent of market share in FY2014, while also attaining overwhelming growth in the utility segment courtesy of the Ertiga MPV. While going big is the ambition for Maruti in the future, the automaker will continue to cater to the small car segment with new launches in the years to come.