Maruti looks to retain lead with entry into MPV, SUV segments

Roudra Bhattacharya New Delhi | Updated on November 13, 2017

Mr Shashank Srivastava

After watching its leadership in the car market come under threat from new competition and labour troubles, Maruti Suzuki now has an elaborate strategy in place to guard against a further erosion of its market share.

It now aims to offer a model for every buyer's need by soon expanding its portfolio to multi-purpose vehicles (MPV) with the ‘Ertiga', followed by the sports utility vehicle (SUV) segment. Apart from the premium hatchback segment, these two segments are the fastest-growing in the passenger vehicle business.

“Two segments are not in our fold and we cannot expect to maintain leadership without being present in 25 per cent of the market. MPVs are now 9-10 per cent of car sales, while the SUV market is around 15 per cent. We didn't think of it before because it was not large enough,” Mr Shashank Srivastava, Chief General Manager (Marketing), Maruti Suzuki, told Business Line.

“We want to connect with the consumer in each segment, every need and requirement. We can only claim our tag line — Way of Life — if we connect with a large customer segment,” he added.

The lowest in 10 years, Maruti's market share has dropped to around 38 per cent in the April-October (16.5 per cent drop in sales) from 45 per cent in 2005 and 82 per cent in 1997.

New engine

To cater to its broader model range, the carmaker is also adding a new petrol engine to its domestic manufacturing — the K series 1.4-litre engine, the fifth in its line-up. With the Ertiga launch expected in early 2012, trial production for the MPV and the engine have started.

The Ertiga, which will also be available with a 1.3-litre diesel power plant, is a seven-seater premium MPV. With three trim variants on offer, prices are expected to be in the Rs 7-8 lakh range.

“The MPV will try to address issues customers have with other products in the market, such as drivability, price, looks and bulkiness. It will be a global unveiling. We're looking at upgrades from premium hatch segment, apart from SUV and sedan buyers,” Mr Srivastava said.

The Ertiga and the SUV concept will be showcased at the Auto Expo next month, along with three 600cc Kei cars.


Published on December 07, 2011

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