The king of India’s small car segment is back with a bang after the recent downfall in market share to below 50 per cent. The car maker doesn’t want history to repeat and is doing all it can to regain its market share. Maruti launched the Alto K10, CNG versions of five of its popular models and the Maruti SX4 special edition.
Right now, demand for Maruti cars is so high that India’s largest selling car maker is not able to produce so many cars. We hear there are no Maruti specials this Diwali too. That’s the bad news, and now for the pleasant part: Maruti Suzuki will launch its MUV R3 in 2012. Maruti does not have that strong a foothold in the SUV and MUV segments in India and we believe this step has been taken to achieve the same.
The Maruti new car will possibly fall in the Rs 7-9 Lakh bracket and will battle against the Toyota Innova and Mahindra’s Xylo. The R3 concept was first revealed at the Delhi Auto Expo 2010 in January. The R3 concept shown at the time was a six seater compact van strapped with 3 rows of seats and rear-hinged rear doors. The concept takes its roots from the Suzuki SX4 platform and appears like a stretched SX4.
The Maruti Suzuki R3 will hit the Indian customers equipped with a choice of 4-cylinder gasoline and diesel motors, in addition to the choice of a compressed natural gas (CNG) option. “There’s a lot more competition now as compared to 5 years earlier. They are getting into MUV’s, which is a clear sign of expanding the product lineup,” Rakesh Batra, auto partner at Ernst and Young said.
This could be just another model from the Maruti stables earning volume sales for the company. Volkswagen, on the other hand, has plans of selling the new car under its own brand too. The platform seems to be gaining popularity, probably due to its practicality. Skoda is thinking of using the same platform to build its own MUV for the upcoming markets.
We hear that the test mule of the R3 concept will dive into the testing phase sometime around the end of this year or early next year. After that, it will be showcased to Volkswagen. The R3 will be one of the first models to be shared by Suzuki with Volkswagen.
Volkswagen is currently keen on tapping Maruti’s mass volume and low-cost expertise to access market price points it currently cannot. So, the MUV could be just the first of many future models shared VW and Suzuki in India and possibly for exports to emerging markets.