Maruti Suzuki could launch facelifted SX4 in 2013; Grand Vitara CKD assembly rumored for 2014
Maruti Suzuki is the country’s largest car maker by a long shot and there’s no holding a candle to that. But then again, the automaker’s sales mainly come from the small car segment, with most of Maruti’s best sellers barring the Ertiga MPV measuring in at under 4 meters in length. So, that’s pretty much been how Maruti has been surviving and thriving in the Indian car market. When it comes to largers cars measuring over 4 meters in length, Maruti Suzuki has really struggled ever since it launched its first C-segment sedan in India, in the form of the Baleno.
The Baleno never sold well and so did the Altura station wagon based on the Baleno. Other experiments like the Grand Vitara SUV and the Kizashi sedan, both imported into India as completely built units(CBU) have failed to ignite sales charts. The latest C-segment car from the Maruti stable, the SX4 sedan, though a decent seller for most part of its lifecycle in India has seen sales bottom out over the last few months despite having a range of petrol and diesel variants, at competitive prices. In essence, Maruti has been quite weak in the 8+ Lakh rupee segment.
In the next few months, a facelifted Suzuki SX4 sedan is expected to be launched in the international market. The buzz is that Maruti would bring this very car to India, in 2013, replete with the end of life facelift. An all new SX4 is expected to bow in sometime during 2014. Click here to read about the 2013 Maruti Suzuki SX4 with the facelift.The facelifted SX4, Maruti would hope will sell better than the current version. Amongst other news, the Grand Vitara could be assembled in India from CKD kits starting from 2014.
Currently, the Grand Vitara SUV is imported as a CBU and is therefore exorbitantly priced. CKD assembly is expected to bring the price down to levels that will allow the Grand Vitara to compete with the likes of the Mahindra XUV500 and the Skoda Yeti. That said, CKD assembly of the Grand Vitara will largely hinge on the value of the Japanese Yen at that point in time. Currently, the Yen has shown a steep depreciation against the US Dollar and this has meant that CKD assembly doesn’t result in a lesser price as expected, and this was expressed by Nissan India’s CEO Takayuki Ishida, in a conversation with Team ICB.
So, in such a situation, it would be interesting as to how Maruti would react to CKD assembly. Coming to the Grand Vitara, more than anything, the SUV needs a diesel engine under the hood as Indians simply are shying away from buying petrol engined SUVs. Any which ways, Suzuki does sell a cut price version of the Grand Vitara in Australia, at a price that could make the SUV give stiff competition to the Skoda Yeti, but then again, the biggest missing link continue to be the lack of a turbo diesel engine under the Grand Vitara’s hood.