The Maruti XA Alpha was expected to lead the bandwagon of compact SUVs in India when first showcased at the Auto Expo back in 2012. The rivals, Renault Duster and Ford EcoSport in this segment also made their debut at the Auto Expo that year. However, Renault was the first of the three to cash in on the untapped market potential followed by the EcoSport which has set the cash registers ringing for Ford. Two years down the line, and still there’s no sign of the XA Alpha hitting the market.
As per the report carried on Financial Express, Maruti’s plans to launch the compact SUV in 2014 have been canned for a variety of reasons. Maruti’s MD and CEO clearly stated that it will not be possible to launch the XA Alpha next year, and no specific time frame has been declared for the same. The main lag seems to have come in the research and development department. Even though the XA Alpha is based on a tweaked Ertiga platform, the SUV seems outdated two years later, post the concept preview. The developers are supposedly going back and forth on the drawing board to get the details right on the XA Alpha and also make it technologically equipped on par with the competition.
Maruti Suzuki also seems to have directed their concentration towards development of diesel engines. The first engine will be an 800cc twin-cylinder unit powering the upcoming A-Star replacement (codenamed YL7) and also the company’s first Light Commercial Vehicle (LCV) in India. The company also plans to develop diesel engines in 1.2-litre, 1.4-litre and 1.6-litre capacity. In the meantime, the larger 1.6-litre Multijet engine will be imported from Fiat as a short term measure that will do duty on UVs and sedans.
2014 will continue to be a busy year for Maruti Suzuki, with the A-Star replacement due for launch; along with the next generation SX4 sedan that will come to India later in the year. The Swift and the DZire are also due for an update in 2014. Maruti also has the iV-4 Concept that will be coming in 2017 and is set to replace the Grand Vitara. The XA Alpha will be facing stiff competition from established rivals like the Duster, Terrano and EcoSport and in time from Hyundai, Honda and Mahindra in the compact SUV segment.
Even though Maruti Suzuki owns over 40 percent of the car market share in the country, it’s been consistently losing its share to the competition. Maruti has faced a lot of troubles post the 2012 Auto Expo from worker union strikes at its plant to violent outbursts leading to loss of life and property. New entrants in the segment are offering better products, while close competitors like Hyundai are catching up with fresh and exciting products from their stable. Maruti knows this very well that the XA Alpha might just be their key to salvation and an opportunity to retrieve the lost ground. We hope more details about the XA Alpha emerge at the upcoming 2014 Auto Expo.
Source – Financial Express