Days ahead of the launch of the second-generation Brezza, a senior Maruti Suzuki India Limited (MSIL) executive said that the company hopes to increase its market share in the compact sports utility vehicle (SUV) segment with the introduction of the compact SUV. Currently churning out 1.2 lakh units of the model on annual basis, India’s largest carmaker hopes to increase its sales without relying on a diesel version, which it had discontinued in 2019.
Shashank Srivastava, Senior Executive Director, Marketing & Sales, Maruti Suzuki, told Moneycontrol.com, “When we introduced the Brezza in 2015-16, the compact SUV segment was just 5 percent of the overall passenger vehicles (PV) market. Now it has become 22 percent of the total market. The overall SUV now accounts for more than 40 percent of the total PV market.”
According to data from industry players, the overall compact SUV market stood at 6,51,300 units in the last financial year, with Tata Nexon, Hyundai Venue and Vitara Brezza each selling more than one lakh units that year. Currently accounting for 21 percent of the market, industry insiders estimate this segment to grow further in the next few years.
Without sharing the sales target, Srivastava maintained, “We have to wait and see how the industry performs, and within that space how the SUV segment performs, and how the market reacts to our SUVs. All I can say directionally (is) we would like to add more numbers to the 10,000 units per month we are selling for the Brezza and increase our market share beyond 20 percent (of the overall SUV market).”
More than six years after selling 7.5 lakh units of the Vitara Brezza, Maruti Suzuki has just commenced bookings for the new Brezza (Vitara name dropped), which will be commercially rolled out on June 30, 2022. The launch is taking place at a time when the company is already having a backlog of 20,000 units of the outgoing version. Maruti has clarified that it has no plans to come up with a diesel version in the foreseeable future.
The 2022 Maruti Brezza will be powered by a new 1.5-litre four-cylinder K15C Dualjet petrol engine mated to a five-speed manual transmission. A new six-speed automatic gearbox (instead of the old four-speed torque convertor) automatic gearbox will also be offered as an additional option. The company expects to derive more than 90 percent of its total sales from the manual transmission version and the remainder from the automatic transmission version.
Interestingly, Maruti Suzuki, which was known for its small and compact cars, is now banking heavily on premium hatchbacks and hi-end SUVs. Speculation is pretty rife that the company is planning to introduce a mid-size SUV, being developed jointly with Toyota, in the third quarter of 2022 to take on the Hyundai Creta and Kia Seltos.Without confirming the development, Srivastava said, “What we have found out is that whenever a segment grows, sub-segments emerge out of that and which are large enough for an OEM to have a viable business proposition. 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.” He further added, “In the SUV market, our market share is just 12 percent and we need to strengthen our portfolio there. In the non-SUV market our market share is 67 percent, which is the highest in the last 20 years. Obviously, if we need to protect our high market share, we need to augment our presence in the SUV market where our overall market share is not so good."