Maruti Suzuki has some grand plans up its sleeves. One of which may be a car to rival popular multi-utility vehicle Toyota Innova. According to a company document reviewed by Mint, Maruti is developing the vehicle, codenamed RX, to take on the Innova by 2017.
Car makers including Toyota, Honda and Hyundai, are seeking to challenge Maruti Suzuki’s dominance by introducing a slew of smaller cars. This new experiment with the MUV segment can be seen as a tactic to insure that the company has its losses and bases covered.
Maruti’s MUV Ertiga, in 2012, gave them a glimpse of what the waters of the MUV market are like. The Maruti Ertiga earned quick appreciation and demand, and contributed to the company’s growth. Since its launch, the MUV has recorded a sale of over 5,000 units each month, in India. Bolstered by its success, we think Maruti is going down this path. However, it is a difficult road ahead for the small-car specialist. The Innova, which it seeks to take on, is the market leader in its category, rivalling the Mahindra Xylo, the XUV 500 and the Tavera effectively.
As is widely known, it is the passenger car segment which enjoys the most demand among customers here, but the MUV segment recorded a 52 per cent growth last year and this could be a positive sign. A fifth of the 2.68 million passenger vehicles sold in 2012-13 were multi-utility vehicles, according to industry lobby Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers.
Coming back to the Maruti’s plans, it seems the company management has approved the development of the new product in January, according to component suppliers to Maruti. The document also states that the RX has been conceived as an eight-seater vehicle with a high-capacity diesel engine (the Innova has a 2,400 cc one) that is currently being developed by engineers in Japan.
When contacted for comment, the Maruti Suzuki’s officials have declined saying that they will not say anything on future models. The vehicle is expected to be launched in the second half of 2016-17 and is positioned above the Ertiga, the company’s current offering in the multi-utility segment.