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Maruti Suzuki unveils Grand Vitara to up the ante in mid-size SUV market

More than a week after commencing the bookings for its Grand Vitara, Maruti Suzuki has lifted the wraps off its midsize SUV, which is expected to be available at prices starting from about Rs 9.5 lakh (ex-showroom) for the base version and could go up to Rs. 19.5 lakh (ex-showroom) for the top end version. The all-new Grand Vitara, essentially a rebadged Urban Cruiser Hyryder, will be positioned above the Brezza sub-compact SUV and will replace the S-Cross across its Nexa showrooms in the country.

Like Toyota’s new SUV, the Grand Vitara will also be available in two engine options – Smart Hybrid and Intelligent Electric Hybrid. With the launch of this 5-seater premium SUV, Maruti Suzuki will be taking on Hyundai Creta, Kia Seltos, Tata Harrier, Volkswagen Taigun, Skoda Kushaq, etc. Based on the Global C-platform, it will have safety features such as six airbags, a tire pressure monitoring system, electronic stability control, disc brakes, etc.

“The size of the midsize SUV market is 5,40,000 units per annum and contributes 18% of the overall PV market and is poised to grow at a CAGR of 10% over the next few years. We hope to maximize our presence here with the new Grand Vitara,” MSI Senior Executive Director (Sales & Marketing) Shashank Srivastava told reporters while unveiling the model. Srivastava noted that while production will begin next month, the commercial rollout will happen in September. He also clarified there are no immediate plans to come up with its diesel or CNG version in the near term.

Like the Urban Cruiser Hyryder, the new Maruti Suzuki SUV will be powered by e-drive transmission with 2WD, a self-charging hybrid solid electric vehicle. Both the hybrid versions will have a 1.5-liter K-series engine (developed by Maruti Suzuki), with Neo Drive (ISG) having five-speed manual transmission and six-speed automatic transmission with 2WD and 4WD options. The 4WD version-positioned All Grip Drive will also get four driving modes – Auto, Sand, Snow, and Lock.

With this launch, Maruti Suzuki aims to augment its market share in the Sports utility vehicle (SUV) segment from just 13.5%. Although it has close to a 20% share in the entry-level SUV space, its presence in the midsize SUV space is pretty minuscule at around 4%.

Incidentally, this is the first midsize SUV that Toyota has developed jointly with Suzuki Motor Corporation (SMC), specifically for the Indian market. To be built solely by Toyota Kirloskar Motors (TKM) at its Bidadi facility in Karnataka from next month, the product will be more than 90 percent localized. TKM has spent nearly Rs 5,000 crore for the development of this model.

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