Maruti Suzuki India expects its new offering Jimny to not only bring in volumes but also establish its credentials as a formidable player in the rapidly growing sports utility vehicle segment where it is eyeing the top slot, according to a senior company executive.
The company, which is set to launch the model in the country next month, expects it to play a role along with other models like Brezza, Fronx and Grand Vitara to take the top position in the SUV segment.
The country's largest carmaker is aiming for the leadership position in the overall SUV segment this fiscal year. In an interaction, Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) Senior Executive Officer (Sales and Marketing) Shashank Srivastava said Jimny would have a positive rub off effect on the overall brand value of the automaker.
"It is an important product in terms of the rub off effect on the overall Maruti brand..Jimny has a legacy as an accomplished SUV so that will surely help us in our overall SUV push in the country," he noted.
MSI, which has invested around Rs 960 crore in developing the five-door Jimny, is gearing up to launch the model next month. Suzuki has sold more than 3.2 million units of Jimny worldwide, in 199 countries and regions.
Globally, the automaker sells the model with three-door configuration. It is for the first time a five-door version is being launched. MSI, which has invested around Rs 960 crore in developing the five-door Jimny, is gearing up to launch the model next month.
Positioned as an all-terrain compact lifestyle SUV, the four-wheel-drive off-roader can tackle harshest of terrains. When asked if the company would also like to offer the model to the armed forces like the Gypsy earlier, Srivastava stated:"Once we introduce the model, we will heck if there is any specific requirement."
MSI used to supply around 6,000-10,000 units of Gypsy units to the armed forces in the past. The company has now stopped manufacturing the model. Srivastava noted that the auto major has already received around 30,000 bookings for the model so far with deliveries expected to commence next month.
The company expects the lifestyle SUV segment, which witnesses sales of around 48,000 units a year, to expand quickly in the next few years. With Jimny, sales could even potentially double in a short time, Srivastava said.
With Brezza, Grand Vitara, Fronx and Jimny, the company is looking at 25 per cent market share in the domestic SUV space.
Srivastava said Maruti's SUV market share rose to 19 per cent in April from around 12 per cent in the same month last year. "Hopefully with additional volumes coming from Fronx...we will get to the 25 per cent market share in the SUV segment in this fiscal," he noted.
MSI competes with the likes of Hyundai, Tata Motors and Mahindra & Mahindra in the segment. Srivastava noted that the SUV segment now accounts for 45 per cent of the overall passenger vehicles dispatches in the domestic market. More than half of the segment is occupied by the compact SUV models like Brezza, Nexon, Venue, Sonet and Punch, he added.
"So in terms of sheer volume, the compact SUV segment is now the largest by far. Last year, out of 39 lakh passenger vehicles which were sold in the market, 8.7 lakh units were compact SUVs," Srivastava said. He noted that new sub brands, like the lifestyle SUV segment, were emerging from the larger compact SUV space.
"This is one category which has emerged in India and it is getting bigger..the estimated size is close to 50,000 units a year..," Srivastava said.