The upcoming Baleno-based crossover is slated to be produced at Suzuki Motor Gujarat (SMG) plant
Maruti Suzuki’s dominant position in the Indian passenger car market may not be in any immediate threat but that doesn’t mean the auto giant can afford to rest on its laurels and take it easy. In fact, there is a huge room for improvement in terms of segment coverage and if Maruti gets it right, consolidation of its market leadership is pretty much guaranteed. We are talking about the compact crossover space.
Maruti YTB Baleno SUV coming sooner than later
The Maruti Vitara Brezza continues to be a very strong player in the hotly contested sub-4m SUV segment. But with a larger 1.5-liter petrol engine, the crossover doesn’t enjoy the huge excise duty benefits that its rivals like Hyundai Venue and Kia Sonet.
This means, there is still some untapped potential left in this segment for Maruti Suzuki. This is exactly the niche that the company is planning to cover with its upcoming Baleno-based crossover codenamed YTB.
Maruti Baleno SUV YTB is currently getting ready at a brisk pace behind the screens and we have learnt that it is scheduled to enter production sometime in March 2023. We could see the Maruti Baleno crossover SUV at our nearest showroom as early as April 2023.
To be made at Suzuki Motor Gujarat (SMG) plant, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Japanese parent company, the Maruti YTB will share its platform, engine, gearbox and several other components with the highly successful Baleno hatchback. The time-proven 1.2-liter K-Series petrol engine with AMT or MT would bring in the much needed small car excise duty benefit thereby enabling the OEM to arrive at a very competitive price point. It remains to be seen if this new car will be shared with Toyota or not.
We guess that the Baleno-based sub-4m crossover will derive its front fascia design cues from the Futuro E Concept but we don’t think it will be a coupe. A more conventional SUV-ish design line would offer practically which is always rewarded by the SUV-loving Indian audience. We expect the interior to adopt a new design but one shouldn’t be surprised if the cockpit features a lot of carryover parts from its hatchback sibling.
More Maruti SUVs in the pipeline
Maruti Suzuki’s SUV onslaught will begin with the next generation Vitara Brezza in a few weeks time. This will be followed by the new Alto which is also expected to have crossover-ish appeal. Third new product will be Maruti’s answer to Hyundai Creta.
All these three products are slated to hit the market before the Baleno SUV in April 2023. The folks at Maruti Suzuki do have a very busy year ahead! Can Maruti dominate the SUV space just like it does in the hatchback segment? We will soon find out!