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With new-gen Brezza launched, Maruti Suzuki may consider ‘Vitara’ moniker for next SUV

Maruti Suzuki and its suppliers invested Rs 460 crore in developing the new Brezza. Bookings have crossed 45,000 within 8 days of bookings being thrown open.

June 30, 2022 / 10:55 PM IST

After registering cumulative sales figures of over 7.5 lakh units in five years, Maruti Suzuki India Limited has finally rolled out the second-generation Brezza at a starting price of Rs 7.99 lakh and going up to Rs 13.96 lakh (ex-showroom). India’s largest carmaker also revealed that the all-new Brezza has already crossed 45,000 bookings within eight days of bookings being open, averaging around four bookings every minute.

Nearly Rs 460 crore was invested by Maruti Suzuki and its suppliers for developing this product, which leverages the existing ‘Heartec’ platform, carried forward from the previous generation Vitara Brezza. Currently churning out 1.2 lakh units of the model on annual basis, India’s largest carmaker hopes for incremental volumes without relying on a diesel version, which it had discontinued in 2019.

“There is no economic logic for consumers to go for the diesel version in this segment. Statistically speaking, the diesel segment accounted for 80 percent of total sales in the compact SUV segment and the balance from the petrol segment. But now, it is the other way round, as 80 percent of compact SUV buyers now opt for the petrol version,” Shashank Srivastava, Senior Executive Director, Marketing & Sales, Maruti Suzuki, told reporters while unveiling the model.

Maruti Suzuki has also dropped the ‘Vitara’ moniker in the compact SUV’s next-generation version. As Srivastava of Maruti reasons, “The reason that the name Vitara is being dropped from the Brezza model is that from our internal research, we discerned that on a standalone basis, Brezza is now a well-known brand. When it was introduced in 2016, Vitara was a very well-known brand. Sometimes you require the name of a strong brand for category association. However, as we went along we found that Brezza could establish itself as a very strong standalone brand.”

As per data sourced from industry players, the overall compact SUV market stood at 6,51,300 units during the last financial year, with Tata Nexon, Hyundai Venue, and Brezza each selling more than one lakh units per annum. Currently accounting for 21 percent of the market, industry insiders estimate this segment to grow further in the next few years.

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When queried on whether the company will consider bringing in the electric version of Brezza, Maruti Suzuki Chief Technical Officer (Engineering) CV Raman revealed, “What I can only say is technically it is feasible. Whether we will work on it or not is something we have not thought about.”

Interestingly, Maruti Suzuki is working on a bigger and premium SUV under the Nexa range, meant to take on the likes of Hyundai Creta, Tata Harrier, and Kia Seltos, and could christen that SUV 'Vitara' in the future. To be available in mild hybrid and strong hybrid versions, the car is developed by Suzuki Motor Corporation and is being built at Toyota Motor Corporation's Indian facility at Bangalore in Karnataka. Incidentally, the badge-engineered version of this model will be rolled out tomorrow by Toyota Kirloskar Motors (TKM).

Without confirming the development, Srivastava said, “Today, we can only talk about Brezza. But yes, there will be multiple SUVs across various segments by us. That will certainly help us in augmenting our market share in the SUV market from 20 percent now. So, we are currently examining the SUV segment as to which sub-segment can have a viable business model, and will try to bring those vehicles in the future.”

It is to be mentioned that with shrinking sales of small cars, Maruti Suzuki’s overall market share in the Indian passenger vehicles market came down to 43.4 percent in FY22 from nearly 50 percent earlier.
Avishek Banerjee
first published: Jun 30, 2022 07:48 pm
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