How and why is Maruti Suzuki aiming big in India’s SUV market?


How and why is Maruti Suzuki aiming big in India’s SUV market?

Despite being a late entrant into the utility vehicle space in the Indian passenger vehicle market, Maruti Suzuki is witnessing significant growth in

Despite being a late entrant into the utility vehicle space in the Indian passenger vehicle market, Maruti Suzuki is witnessing significant growth in this space, which is propelling the OEM to further aim big on the segment.

Maruti Suzuki which has been conventionally known for its wide range of small passenger vehicles, has been shifting its focus on utility vehicles, including crossovers, SUVs and MPVs. This is a key reason why the automaker has been witnessing rapid growth in its UV sales over the last couple of years. Also, the sales numbers suggest that Maruti Suzuki’s strategy shift has started paying off dividends.

In FY24, the utility vehicle range for the automaker registered the highest growth. In the last financial year, the automaker launched two key models, which were the Jimny and Fronx. While the much-hyped Maruti Suzuki Jimny SUV’s sales performance remains lacklustre, the Baleno premium hatchback-based Fronx crossover, which is also sold alongside the Jimny through the Nexa retail network, has witnessed more than one lakh units retailed within 12 months of launch.

Also Read : Upcoming cars in India in 2024

Watch: Maruti Suzuki Fronx SUV: First Drive Review

Besides that, the other models like Brezza, Grand Vitara, Ertiga, XL6, and Invicto played their respective roles in boosting the share of utility vehicles in Maruti Suzuki’s overall sales number, eventually helping the brand to consolidate its position in the Indian PV market further. Maruti Suzuki sold 4.43 lakh SUVs in India in FY24, compared to 2.02 lakh units registered in FY23. Interestingly, these utility vehicles helped the OEM to regain its market share after hitting an all-time low point in FY22. Maruti Suzuki held a 47.7 per cent market share in FY20 which dropped to its lowest point of 41.3 per cent in FY22. The automaker clawed back this number to 41.6 per cent in FY24, thanks to the range of crossovers, SUVs and MPVs alongside the hatchbacks and sedans.

Also Read : Maruti Suzuki Fronx Velocity Edition: All you need to know

Why is Maruti Suzuki aiming big in Indian PV market?

Utility vehicles, especially SUVs have been witnessing a maddening rush over the last couple of years across the world. India, being one of the major passenger vehicle markets globally, has not been immune to this trend. Over the last couple of years, SUVs have become the driving force for the automakers in the country and Maruti Suzuki, being the largest carmaker in the country in terms of volume never wanted to be away from the game.

Maruti Suzuki was a late entrant in this segment but the automaker was quick to catch up the pace. In the last few years, it launched a wide range of cars in the utility vehicle segment. The Brezza (erstwhile Vitara Brezza), Grand Vitara, Ertiga, XL6, Invicto, Fronx, and Jimny come as a testimony to the automaker’s hunger to grab a sizeable chunk of the bulging UV market pie. The automaker was quick to understand that if it doesn’t aim big in the UV space, sustaining the leadership position in the Indian passenger vehicle market will be difficult, especially at a time when competitors like Hyundai, Tata Motors, Mahindra have been aggressively focusing on UVs. Hence, the emphasised focus on utility vehicles, and the dividend started paying off for the Indo-Japanese automaker.

UVs eating away Maruti Suzuki’s small car shares

The growth of utility vehicles has consumed the market share of Maruti Suzuki’s traditional revenue engine small cars. This is a global phenomenon that SUVs and crossovers have been eating away the market share of hatchbacks and sedans and India is not immune from this trend. For Maruti Suzuki as well, the largest hit was received by the entry-level mini segment, which witnessed a significant decline in the last fiscal.

The small car segment of the automaker, which consists of models like Alto K10, Celerio, S-Presso, WagonR etc, registered a drop of number from 2.33 lakh units in FY23 to 1.42 lakh units in FY24. On the other hand, the share of SUVs increased, which clearly indicates that consumers who used to incline towards small and practical hatchbacks previously have started shifting their preferences towards bigger and boxy vehicles.

First Published Date: 02 Jul 2024, 06:38 AM IST

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