Soon after launching the Swift, Maruti Udyog appears to be gearing up to create a new market segment in India by launching a mini sports-utility vehicle that is likely to be priced under Rs 7 lakh.
So far, only multi-utility vehicles -- seen as poor cousins to SUVs -- are available at this price.
Japanese newspaper Nihon Keizai Shimbun on Monday reported that a possible mini-SUV from the Suzuki stable, costing as little as $15,000, will be developed by Suzuki Motor Corporation, and made in India, Japan, China and Hungary.
The product is expected to be developed at a cost of $447 million (Rs 2,012 crore) and have a two-litre engine. Its worldwide sales target is likely to be set at 200,000 units.
The mini-SUV from Suzuki will target customers who already have sub-compact cars and are looking for a change.
Maruti's Director (Marketing & Sales) Kinji Saito, however, refused to comment. "We have not been informed about it yet," he said. Saito added that the market for SUVs in India was not very big.
Reports from Japan said the planned new mini-SUV was part of Suzuki's five-year plan (ending 2010) that aims at adding 700,000 units to its sales from the present 2.6 million units.SUV sales in India have been dormant with total volumes barely crossing 1,000 units a month. Maruti sells its premium SUV, the Grand Vitara, in India at a little over Rs 19 lakh (Rs 1.9 million).