New Delhi, Sept. 8: Maruti Suzuki India Limited is gearing up to launch a sedan, a small car and two SUVs.
According to sources, the company may bring in a substitute for the SX4 sedan next year. After strong initial sales, the SX4 lost its edge to the Nissan Sunny, Hyundai Verna and Honda City. Maruti has code-named the car YL1, and vendors are now working on the components.
India’s No. 1 car maker recently rolled out the Stingray, a car similar to the WagonR.
According to company officials, the new sedan will not just be a “facelift” but a completely new model with executive styling, better engine and features. “The project is very close to our hearts. The styling is top notch and we are sure it will be able to take the segment by storm,” said a senior Maruti official. The car may be unveiled at the 2014 Auto Expo.
“Maruti needs to bring out the SX4 in a new avatar or come out with a completely new sedan. However, it has to be careful as the competition is extremely high in the segment. It cannot take the consumer for granted and has to come out with better designs and offer more in the vehicles,” auto analyst P. Tharyan said.
Maruti is also trying to hasten the launch of compact SUV XA Alpha to enter the segment ruled by Renault Duster and Ford EcoSport.
Renault sold 65,000 units of the Duster since last year, while Ford sold 8, 717 units of the EcoSport, according to figures till July by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers.
Maruti reported a 61.24 per cent increase in sales in August. The company sold 87,323 units against 54,154 units in the same period last year.
“For Maruti, right now having a compact and a mid-level SUV makes sense. But they have to price it right between Rs 4 lakh and Rs 14 lakh. Anything over that does not make sense because it might not sell and suffer the fate of its premium sedan Kizashi. It needs to come out fast with the SUVs as it is a booming segment at present,” added Tharyan.
Sources said the company was planning to replace the Grand Vitara — it’s only mid-level SUV — with a newer and better one. The company is planning to launch it by the end of 2014 or early 2015.
Meanwhile, Maruti will also bring in a small car in the next few months to replace the A-Star and the discontinued Zen Estilo.
Faced with stiff competition from rival Hyundai, Maruti is looking to regain its dominance in the small car segment with new editions.
Hyundai recently launched the Grand i10 priced between Rs 4.29 lakh and Rs 5.47 lakh for the petrol version and between Rs 5.23 lakh and Rs 6.41 lakh for the diesel version.
Maruti’s sales in the mini segment, which comprises M800, Alto, A-Star and WagonR, rose 45.1 per cent in August to 32,019 units from 22,062 units a year ago.
The company launched the Stingray last month, priced between Rs 4.1 lakh and Rs 4.67 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi). Powered by a 998cc petrol engine, the compact car is available in three variants.