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Automobiles

Published on: May 14, 2022, 2:44 p.m.
Maruti Suzuki continues to reign supreme
  • The XL6: carving a space for itself as a premium MPV in a short period

By S.M. Boothem

In the last six months, Maruti Suzuki India Ltd (MSIL) upgraded a number of models with a new look; they were also packed with tech features.  Starting from the Celerio other upgraded models included the Baleno, the Ertiga and the latest one to join the league in April, the XL6, a premium MPV. The XL6 is priced between Rs11.29 lakh and 14.55 lakh for different variants. The XL6 was first launched in the Indian market in 2019. Both the Ertiga and the XL6 are the major contributors to MSIL in the multi-purpose vehicle (MPV) segment.    

The XL6 is the second model to feature NEXA’s Crafted Futurism design language. It is equipped with a variety of features including a SmartPlay Pro touchscreen infotainment system for music and in-built Suzuki connect to control vehicle operations. The XL6 can be remotely accessed through a smartwatch. Captain seats in the second row and the reclining third row ensure the comfort of every passenger. The XL6 comes with four airbags and an electronic stability program with hill-hold assistance as standard across all variants. The fuel efficiency of the XL6: 20.97 kpl (MT) and 20.27 kpl (AT). 

Like the Baleno, the new XL6 is also available at NEXA showrooms across India.  “The XL6 has been a very successful model for us. It has managed to carve a space for itself as a premium MPV in a short period. Evolving customer aspirations for a bolder, feature-packed, premium utility vehicle have led us to introduce the all-new XL6. I am confident that our NEXA customers will appreciate the XL6,” said Hisashi Takeuchi, MD and CEO, MSIL at the launch.

Talking about consumers’ tastes and trends in new technology, Shashank Srivastava, Senior Executive Director, Sales and Marketing, MSIL says: “Indian consumers are more tech-savvy and want more features, more technology in their cars.  What we have done, if you see our recent launches, the Celerio, the Baleno, the Ertiga and the latest XL6 – we have introduced a lot of features.

For example, in the Baleno, we have a head-up display (HUD) and a 360-degree view camera. These features are not present in the category at all. What we have observed is that consumers are more aspirational, they are willing to pay for more features. Going forward, we will continue to give options to consumers so that they can buy our cars with more tech features.”

 Strong SUV line-up

In 2021-2022, MSIL’s market share increased in the non-SUV segment by almost 1.5 per cent and is now at 67 per cent. But in the SUV category, MSIL has got only two models – the Brezza and the S-Cross. Currently, SUVs contribute over to 45 per cent of the industry and also there are about 47 SUV models when compared with MSIL’s two models. The Brezza is a market leader in entry-level SUV, but in other SUV segments, MSIL still has a long way to go to catch up with others.

“If we have to maintain and defend our market share to 50 per cent going forward, it is essential for us to have a strong SUV line-up. That’s what we are planning. I may not be able to tell you the exact timeline on the new SUVs, but what I can say is that we have within the SUV segment, identified different sub-segments, and we will try to bring new products to those sub-segments,” explains Srivastava.

  • We are bullish about the Indian market; there may be some ups and downs, but in the long term, we are confident about the domestic market

In the last five years, MSIL has maintained a 50 per cent market share and the company is excited about this achievement. Last year, there was a slight drop due to various factors like the shortage of semi-conductors and supply chain constraints. In the MPV segment where MSIL continues to maintain its market share, the market size is roughly about 2.60 lakh units, out of which MSIL’s contribution is 1.59 lakh units, approximately 61 per cent share of the MPV segment. 

Three years ago, it was only 34-35 per cent.  One of the reasons, MSIL’s market share increased is due to the Ertiga, which used to do only 5,500 units a month and has now started selling 10,000 cars a month.  Then came the XL6, making the carmaker 40,000 units a year. MSIL is confident that the new launches of Ertiga and XL6 will continue to deliver good numbers. 

Around Rs216 crore has been invested in the development of the XL6, including the powertrain. Going forward, MSIL has become very aggressive in terms of products and continues to invest in new models.  “We are bullish about the Indian market; there may be some ups and downs, but in the long term, we are confident about the domestic market. The announcement of a normal monsoon augurs well for us as the rural market contributes 43 per cent and always outpacing urban market”, concludes Srivastava.

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