Maruti Suzuki revolutionised the automobile scene in India in the early 1980s with the Maurti 800. The only option available for a Maruti owner to upgrade was to buy the next Maruti 800 model. They could also splurge on imported window shade and soft drink coolers. However, these had to be switched off, including the AC to allow the tiny engine some breath to overtake on an incline.
But the Indian automobile market has matured with a bevy of cars from the who’s who of automobile industry now available in India. The buyer has also moved up the ladder and the market share of the once bread and butter cars of Maruti is now just 10%. Move in the SUVs, and the game changed further. Sale of SUVs is expected to over take the sale of small hatchbacks by 2020.
Maruti has woken up to this new reality with a tie up with Toyota to offer SUVs and softroaders as well as large MPVs. The company aims to develop and produce a Creta competitor based on the Brezza platform. This car would be manufactured at Toyota plant by 2022. The two companies are in an agreement to sell rebadged Baleno, Ciaz and Ertiga till 2022. Maruti and Toyota are also working on developing a new C segment MPV for the Indian market. Thereafter, the models co-designed by the two would have different styling for Maruti and Toyota. The aim is that both the companies should gain from the increasing SUV mania in India.
Toyota and Maruti will be jointly developing new and larger engines for the bigger cars also. This is expected to include a 1.5 litre diesel and gasoline-hybrids.